Evening in the park

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This little herd of deer was standing near the split rail fence, one of my favorite bird watching locations, when I went to the park with my camera on Sunday evening. They were more interested in browsing than curious about what I was doing, so I decided to take their picture before I headed out for a little bird photography.

The light was getting low, but the birds were still active, and this time I had remembered to bring a handful of peanuts to reward them. There were cardinals, both male and female, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and more. Here is the woodpecker gallery:


The male cardinals were wearing brilliant  red coats this evening. Maybe the light had something to do with making them look especially beautiful. The female cardinal, sitting by herself in the branches of a nearby tree, chose not to pose with the redcoats

Then there were two downy woodpeckers:
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And a greedy nuthatch…
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And finally one of my favorites, the red-bellied woodpecker, put in an appearance. She was being somewhat elusive this evening. She swooped past, but didn’t stay for long, and I missed my chance to get her picture. This happened several times. Every time she came close, I was too late with the camera. To say the least, I wasn’t on the top of my game, but finally I was ready, and here is the result:

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It’s a good thing too because the sun was getting low and I was getting cold. I was happy to call it a night. Thanks for coming out on this chilly evening.

I’ll see you soon.
~Trail Walker

Trailwalking with the deer

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Sunday  afternoon, well, almost evening, was a beautiful time for a trail walk in Chagrin River Park. And I was delighted to find some deer to share it with me. The lovely doe, pictured at the top of this post, was peacefully grazing beside the path near the beginning of the trail. Then, a short distance away, I saw a young-un, still wearing its spotted coat. It was so cute one picture just wasn’t enough, so, as s/he posed very nicely, I repeatedly pressed my shutter button and captured these sweet pictures. (Click on a picture to enlarge them.) When we (the trail walkers) see fawns this young so late in the season, we hope for a mild winter, fearing that they might not be strong enough to survive a harsh one.

On down the trail I encountered another young one, standing by itself under the trees. As I lifted my camera to capture this picture, he turned and looked straight at me, and I couldn’t have asked for a better pose. I wonder if the plants around him (or her) are as tasty as they look?  I didn’t have to walk far to see still another young one, and it, too, stared straight at the camera, almost as if posing for a portrait. Although small, this one appeared to be a little older because the spots were gone from her coat. Aren’t those eyes amazing?

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Finally, nearing the end of the trail, I saw one more deer, a more mature one, with a noticeably darker coat. I wonder if the shade of her coat has something to do with the difference in the grasses she is grazing.

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I hadn’t quite reached the end of my walk, but dusk was falling, so I headed back toward my car,snapping pictures of the river trail as I walked along. It’s time to stop now. I’ve run out of deer, so I will save the other pictures for my next post.

I hope you enjoyed this evening walk as much as I did.
Thanks for joining me along the trail.
Trail Walker

Lazy Sunday afternoon 

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After church and lunch, it was far too cold (about 16 degrees) for a trail walk, so I decided the best thing to do would be relax and read. Picking up this book I found in the bookstore before Christmas, that’s exactly what I did. It has been a quiet, peaceful afternoon. 

This is my post for Cellpic Sunday, taken, processed, and posted via my iPhone 6+.

See you soon.

Trail Walker

Rapscallions!

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Walking into my kitchen, I glanced out the window and there, staring straight at me, were two deer…in broad daylight…the penalty we pay for living next door to  Chagrin River Park. Why, you might ask, would I call these beautiful animals rapscallions (an old-fashioned word for rascal; rogue; or scamp)?  It’s because they consider my Back Yard Bird Buffet their personal dining room, and anything I put out for the birds is free range for these much larger mammals.

When they saw me through the window, they ran away, but I knew they would be back because they knew where the good food was…free for their taking. Unfortunately, they are destructive. They push at the suet and other feeders with their heads to shake the food loose and when they’ve eaten their fill, they  leave broken pieces on the ground…Not broken pieces of food, but broken pieces of the feeders. I’ve ended up with more than one broken bird feeder as a result of their night time visits, which is why I call them rapscallions. However, they are beautiful animals, and it’s quite amazing to see them outside my window. I guess we will just have to be more diligent about bringing our bird feeders inside before it gets dark. (But if you have a better solution, I would love to hear it).

Rant over! My feeders are inside and it’s time for me to go to bed.
See you tomorrow!
Trail Walker

 

 

A surprise visitor at the back yard buffet

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In the past week the pileated woodpecker has made several visits to our back yard buffet. I heard her announce her arrival early this evening when I was cleaning up the kitchen, so I took my camera and sat on the patio after supper. It wasn’t long before she flew in. First she swung by the new suet feeder, but didn’t hang around long enough to take a taste of the bark butter suet. However, she soon returned and this time grabbed on to the large suet holder Bob hung from a post way back under the trees, and, finally, as I sat on the patio bench, she returned to the new feeder, the one that was closest to me. I snapped away as she feasted on the bark butter. She was happy, and so was I. Here’s hoping she likes it enough to return often. I think there may be a male in the neighborhood too because last week two pileateds arrived together. At the time, I didn’t have my camera, so I missed the photo opp. Today I didn’t make that mistake! Here are a few more pictures of today’s visitor:

Interesting facts about this big bird:

  • Male and female pileated look very much alike, but the male has a red mustache.
  • They nest in cavities in trees that they excavate. The noise they make while digging these holes can be heard for quite a distance.
  • They will make up to 16 holes in each tree to allow escape routes in case a predator enters the tree, and they peck the bark around the entrance holes to make the sap run. That keeps some predators, such as snakes, from entering their nest.
  • Their favorite food is carpenter ants, and the young are fed regurgitated insects.
  • A group of pileated woodpeckers are collectively known as a “crown” of woodpeckers.
  • Sometimes people call them “Woody Woodpecker” after the cartoon, which definitely resembles a pileated woodpecker.

That’s enough for this post. I hope you enjoyed seeing the big bird.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

 

Here she is: The red-eyed vireo

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In yesterday’s blog post about Friday Faces I mentioned that I saw my very first red-eyed vireo while walking on the trail through the bog. Another blogger commented that s/he had never seen a vireo, so, at that blogger’s request, here it is: momma vireo sitting on her nest. It’s not a great picture (not even a very good one), because she was hidden away among lots of leafy green branches. Sunlight filtering through the leaves gave it a green cast, but given the difficulties, I am happy to have a picture of this pretty little bird.

For the past four weeks I have been busy with Blogging 101, an online course for bloggers who want to improve their blog. With a new blogging assignment every day, there hasn’t been much time to go on my usual photowalks, so I have actually taken only a few pictures during these weeks. Hopefully normal photowalking will resume next week…if it stops raining and we aren’t flooded out.

UPDATE ON THE VIREO

Before the rain finally stopped yesterday (Sunday), I went back to the vireo’s nest to see if I could capture a few more/better pictures. I’m going to include them in my weekly photo update (my new blog feature starting today), but I thought this sweet little bird deserved a spotlight all her own. Here are a few new pictures of her at the nest: (Click on the first picture to scroll through the gallery).

I was excited to get a second chance to show you her red eye.
Pretty neat, isn’t it?

See you soon if the rain stays away!

Carolyn aka Skip

Recycling a robin

This morning the big blue recycling truck lumbered down our street, stopping at each house to collect the items placed at the curb for recycling. As a result, my post today involves recycling, but not that kind of recycling. Recently I read a suggestion that struck my fancy. The writer was encouraging photographers to search out and recycle old photos, just to see how creative they could be with some of the old stuff we all have accumulated, but maybe never used…sort of like digging through that junk drawer in your kitchen and discovering treasures you had forgotten.  “Good idea,” I thought.

“With 51,000 photos sitting on my hard drive, that should be easy …and fun.”

So this evening I searched through the backlog of photos on my hard drive, looking specifically for pictures of animals that put a smile on my face. And here you have the first one, a chubby, self-satisfied American robin enjoying her day at the spa. And here is a song you may remember, although probably not, unless you are old enough to remember when Harry Truman was president of the United States (and yes, I am that old).

I hope you like the song because if you are anything like me, it could be rolling around in your head for hours. Did it bring a few good memories to mind? Or maybe it will send you searching through your photographic junk drawer to see what you can come up with. If my “poor little robin, walking to Missouri” sends you searching, I hope you have fun. I did, and I’m planning to recycle another “funny animal”…maybe tomorrow.

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

Another day and a few more warblers

Although I didn’t encounter as many warblers as yesterday, nor anything that made me as excited as the indigo bunting, this was still a delightful day in the park with Gulliver as my photo assistant. Being a “senior dog,” he isn’t impatient and will wait for me when I spot something I want to “shoot.” I just drop his leash on the ground, step on it, and shoot away. Here are six photos (but only two different species) from today:

That’s it for this post. Gulliver and I hope you enjoyed our birds.

Skip aka Carolyn

Long day and a productive photowalk

Note: If you want to scroll through a gallery or see the large version of a photo, just click the pic.

It has been one of those days that started early and just kept on going. By the time I got out for a photowalk, the afternoon light was waning, but the birds were still active. I headed for the bluebird nesting boxes first; both mom and pop bluebirds were there, and perched nearby was a tree swallow, so I added his picture to my collection for the day.

Walking on, I headed past the bog, where I spotted flashes of bright yellow. Click, click, click! I captured several colorful birds, but at first I wasn’t quite sure what they were.

…until this handsome dude showed up on the scene…

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…and I exclaimed, “Oh! Orioles! Both the male and female.”

Then they discovered each other, and I quickly captured the surprising interaction with my camera!

Gotta love witnessing that interaction, but the walk wasn’t over yet. On the way back to my car, I saw a downy woodpecker…

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…a singing cardinal,2015_05_07_Chagrin River Park_183
…and a very shy mystery warbler who was hiding in the underbrush.
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And that was the end of the evening and the very productive walk in the park. If you liked it as much as I did, feel free to comment. I would love to know if you had a favorite picture.

Thanks for stopping by today!
Skip aka Carolyn

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