Posted in animal photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks, nature

Twice surprised!

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In the afternoon, the sky cleared a little, and I took advantage of the break in the clouds to do a little birding before sunset. I knew there would probably be a variety of birds along the trail near the fence post, so that’s where I headed.

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To my surprise, a bluejay joined the others in their game of “grab and go.” It was fun to get his picture because the jays usually keep their distance. Instead of joining the other birds in the fun, they linger in the branches of nearby trees, occasionally squawking and swooping from branch to branch; however, one of them was curious tonight, and I was able to get several good shots of him in action:

A song sparrow also joined in the fun.
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Then, as I was squinting through the lens, waiting to see who would appear next, I got a surprise. Instead of a bird, here is what I saw on the top of the post:
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Dusk was falling, and it was a few seconds before I realized the  chipmunk had scurried up the fence post to get his share of the peanuts, but when I did, I got a good chuckle at how quick and clever he was. Light was fading by that time, so I decided it was time to head for home. And that was the end of this trail walk, but it was fun while it lasted!

Thanks for joining me on the trail.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Lightroom processing, My trail walks

Dreary…again!

Hoping to see a little sunshine this morning, after a cloudy weekend, I was disappointed to wake up to overcast skies. Had it been a sunny day, I would have grabbed my camera (and jacket) and headed to the Arboretum. However, completely unmotivated by the dull weather, I decided instead to park myself in front of my computer to practice some new processing techniques. Choosing three birds I photographed earlier this month in Chagrin River Park, I specifically focused on white balance, cropping, and using the graduated filter. Here are the results:

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Tufted titmouse

 

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White-breasted nuthatch
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Red-bellied woodpecker

If the sun decides to peek out later on, I may go for a trail walk, but meanwhile, I’m staying inside! No trail walking this morning, but if you stopped by to say hello, I’m delighted you’re here.

Thanks for visiting! Have a good Monday. 😀
~Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

A didgeridoo: An unusual sight to see (and hear) along the trail in Chagrin River Park

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Anyone familiar with my blog is aware that most of my posts originate from my experiences along the trail in local parks. Today’s post is not an exception, but it is somewhat unusual and definitely different from the usual sights I typically see along the trail.

That’s not the didgeridoo pictured at the top of the page,  but except for that little tufted titmouse, a common sight along the trail, I took all of today’s photos around the fire pit at the bottom of the sledding hill in Chagrin River Park. Someone had built a little fire in the fire pit, but there were no frozen sled riders warming up around the flames. Yesterday’s high temperature topped out  somewhere around 73 degrees, truly an anomaly for March in northeast Ohio. However, the usual group of regulars had gathered around the fire, and were being entertained by Ryan and his didgeridoo.
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For the uninitiated, the didgeridoo is a wind instrument. Said to be the oldest wind instrument in the world, it originated with the Aborigines in Australia, many, many years ago. People who play it well, need to have excellent breath control and be willing to practice…a lot! Ryan, who brought his didgeridoo to Chagrin River Park, told me the instrument has been used to help people who have sleep apnea and by people who practice meditation. Ryan teaches yoga and has also used the instrument with his yoga classes. One more interesting fact about this unusual instrument: It is traditionally made from eucalyptus trees that have been hollowed out by termites.

I was curious and wanted to know more about the didgeridoo, so I googled it and found plenty of information online. A large number of recorded TED Talks included expert performances.  If you’re curious and want to hear this instrument played, here are a couple of links to help you get started…

… and below are a few more pictures of Ryan and his didgeridoo.

You never know what you might see along the trail in Chagrin River Park, and I’m glad I ran into Ryan at the fire pit today. It was an unexpected treat to hear his didgeridoo.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

And then the sun came out!

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As I wrote in my last post, Tuesday morning was chilly and completely overcast, but my friend Lisa and I had agreed to meet at Holden Arboretum for a “walk and talk,” so off I went.  As I drove down Sperry Road to the Arboretum entrance, the clouds parted, the morning haze vanished, and then, suddenly, the sun came out. Truly an unexpected event.

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Lotus Pond, still partially covered by a thin layer of ice.

Lotus Pond was beautiful in the early afternoon light, so we wandered over for a closer look and a few photos of the pond and the golden willow tree.

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Lisa at Lotus Pond
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Leaning against the Golden Willow tree
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Distant view of the willow
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The willow framed by the trunk of a river birch tree.

Leaving Lotus Pond, we headed toward the rhododendron garden, and on the way we met Hank, a beautiful corgi walking with his human.

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Hank posed for a profile shot…
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…and smiled for the camera, convincing Lisa there should be a corgi in her future!

In the rhododendron garden, Lisa spotted a carpet of purple blossoms, and agreed to pose for one more photo.

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On the trail back to the parking lot, we walked along the edge of Corning Lake where one lone duck was enjoying an afternoon swim.

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Before we reached our cars, Lisa pulled out her cell phone and took one shot of the photographer at work:

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We had reached the end of our “walk and talk” at the Arboretum. It wasn’t our first “meeting” there and probably won’t be the last because Lisa and I both love walking in Holden Arboretum.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in celebration, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

Celebrating spring!

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My friend Lisa and I took at trail walk in Holden Arboretum today. The morning sky was completely overcast, but as I drove down Sperry Road to the arboretum entrance at about 1 pm, the sun came out. Admittedly it was still only about 50 degrees, and winter hasn’t entirely loosened its grip on northeast Ohio, but with the sun shining down on us from a deep blue sky, we couldn’t have had a better day for the first spring trail walk!  Today we’re celebrating spring and hoping it will soon be here to stay.

Thanks for coming by today to say hello. See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks

Winter just won’t let go!

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Low temps, high winds, and snow: That was our weather forecast for Sunday through Wednesday. Thankfully the nasty weather loosened its grip by Tuesday afternoon, and the temperature rose to about 28 degrees, comfortable enough for me to take a short trail walk in Chagrin River Park. The river looked cold…

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…and so did the bog!

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The cardinals, however, didn’t seem to mind the weather. After taking a little walk along the river, I decided to visit the rail fence to see if any birds were hanging around. They were there, but unfortunately I had forgotten to put some peanuts in my pocket, and I had nothing to offer them. It was sad to see them fly in from every direction and check the fence post, only to find it empty. I even heard some unhappy chirps. It sounded as if they were scolding me for being so forgetful. I won’t forget next time, but this was an impromptu visit, and I forgot to put the peanut bag in my pocket! I still managed to get some pictures, and I was pleased with how they turned out. (I love my new lens!)

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As you can see, the sun was shining. That was totally unexpected, and it made for a short, and delightful (but still cold), trail walk.

Thanks for walking with me today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

The river runs through it!

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Many of my trail walks are centered in Chagrin River Park because it is within walking distance of my home. Not surprisingly, the park is named for the river that runs through it, but there is some uncertainty about where the name of the river originated. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

The Chagrin River is located in Northeast Ohio.[1] The river has two branches, the Aurora Branch and East Branch. Of three hypotheses as to the origin of the name, the most probable is that it is a corruption of the name of a Frenchman, Sieur de Seguin, who established a trading post on the river ca. 1742.[2][3][4] The Chagrin River runs through suburban areas of Greater Cleveland in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Portage counties, transects two Cleveland Metroparks reservations, and then meanders into nearby Lake County before emptying into Lake Erie.

Whatever the origin of the name, the Chagrin is a great river for fishing, and at this time of year, when the salmon are running, fishermen come from far and wide (even from out-of-state) to try their luck. One afternoon recently, I spotted a flurry of activity along the river bank. Upon closer investigation, this is the event I witnessed:

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I learned, after the fact, from the two bystanders (on the right in the pictures), that the man with the rod is an avid retired fisherman who dedicates all his time to fishing the river. The bystanders, friends of mine, told me he had regaled them with amazing “fish tales.”

Just as they were leaving the scene to continue their walk, he hooked this fish and called them back to watch the drama play out. The man with the net was another fisherman who entered the fray when the fisherman called out, “Does anybody have a net?” They landed the fish, measured  and admired it, and ultimately released it, as required by law. The last two pictures show the release with the one bystander, at the request of the fisherman, snapping a few pictures of his catch of the day (The fisherman apparently didn’t know that I was standing at the top of the bank, capturing the entire scene).   Sometimes you just get lucky, and that afternoon the fisherman did, and so did I!

Thanks for joining me along the trail today. See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, deer, My trail walks

Determination

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A little bag of peanuts in my pocket attracted the attention of this hungry doe. It might be that she has a super-sniffer, or maybe she saw me drop a handful of peanuts into the top of the fence post. Either way, she knew there were tasty treats to be had, and she was determined to have her share.

As soon as I walked away from the fence, she wandered over and sidled up to the post. She quickly discovered she wasn’t tall enough to insert her pink tongue into the post far enough to reach the peanuts. But she tried…

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…and she  kept on trying.
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She was one determined doe, but unfortunately she was vertically challenged. No matter how hard she tried, the tasty treat was out of her reach.

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She didn’t get the peanuts this time, but one thing I know for sure, she’ll be back. Peanuts are apparently a highly valued snack food, and when she sees me the next time, she’ll remember. Maybe that time the peanut cache will be “topped off;” she will be able to reach it, and her determination will have a happier outcome. I’m betting on the doe.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in family, Moments to remember

The years fly by!

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Today’s blog post is the oldest in a series of three visits to Overlook Park on Lake Erie. The first in the series was posted just last week. The second goes back to a summer evening in 2013, and today’s pictures were taken on May 5, 2011. One park but three different occasions. Here are a few more family shots taken during the May visit. Included in the picture are two daughters, one son-in-law, four grandchildren, and Bob. We were out for family pizza night at a restaurant near the park, and I talked them into a little photoshoot.

That’s it for my posts in this series. I had fun “mining” my photo archives, but this particular series is all mined out, unless I return some day for another photoshoot in Overlook Park. My message to you is to give it a try. If you have built up a sizable collection of photos, consider mining it for some themes and create a series. You just might enjoy it!

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