Posted in backyard birding, Baltimore orioles, bird photography, Color me Spring!

Orioles!

Lots of activity in our backyard today. Rose breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, and a little Eastern bluebird. Here are the orioles, but I’m saving the others for tomorrow when I have more time.

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It has been a cool, cloudy, and overcast day, but these visitors made the sun come out for me and put a smile on my face! I hope they give you a smile too.

Thanks for visiting. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

The wrens have returned!

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When we’re talking birds, migration is a fascinating topic, especially in the spring when the woods are awake with the sight and song of the warblers and other birds that haven’t been around during the cold winter months.

The bird pictured above, a house wren, is small and looks sweet, but according to my i-bird app, they are fiercely territorial and have been known to destroy the eggs of bluebirds and other small birds. So…definitely not sweet! However it is fun to watch them “feather their nesting holes” and settle in for the summer. One afternoon this week I hung around for a half-hour or so and watched for this little one to return to the nesting hole. When she did, I snapped a sequence of pictures as she came to her “front door” and peered outside.

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Look closely and, in a few of the pictures, you can see the “sawdust” on her beak, a result of her efforts to excavate the nest. That’s something human mothers don’t have to do to provide a home for their newborn babies.

This same skinny tree has been used before, perhaps by the same wren. Reportedly they can live up to seven years in the wild, so this could be the same little bird I’ve seen in past years. However, this year the entrance to the nest is on the side of the tree facing the trail. In previous years, it was on the other side; the bird would fly up to the (very skinny) tree, land on the side facing the bog, and disappear inside. She is just one of numerous wrens that have returned to the bog in recent days. I don’t know how many there are, but, according to Wikipedia, the house wren is the most widely distributed bird in the Americas, and as I walk along the trail, I can hear their melodic song from high and low on both sides of the trail.

One final fact for this post is that a group of wrens can be referred to by several different names: a chime, flight, flock, or even a herd of wrens. A herd of wrens? That takes me back to my teen years when I would go with my father to inspect the herds of dairy cows that produced milk the farmers were shipping to market in Philadelphia. That was another time, another place, and a very different animal from this herd of wrens that has moved into Chagrin River Park for the summer. I wonder who would possibly have come up with the term “herd of wrens?” As a term for a group of wrens, it certainly doesn’t work for me; nevertheless, the park is filled with their song, and I enjoy seeing and hearing this “herd” of migratory birds.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Color me Spring!, My trail walks, northern flicker

Love those birds!

I was standing next to the trail, watching a house wren “feathering her nest,” when I spotted two birds on a branch high over my head. I couldn’t see them clearly with my naked eye, so you can imagine my surprise when I downloaded them to my computer after I got home.

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Female flicker
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Male and female
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Lovebirds!

Talk about serendipity! I couldn’t believe my luck in capturing these two beautiful birds…together! The house wren pictures came out pretty good also, but I will post them another day. Today belongs to the flickers. Hope you like them. For you bird lovers, a group of flickers are collectively known as a “guttering”, “menorah”, and “Peterson” of flickers. Who knew? I definitely didn’t, but now you do!

Thanks for joining me along the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio

Can you name these birds?

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It was a great day for a bird walk, with lots of little birds posing for their portraits. I even captured a couple I had to look up. How many of these birds can you name? All of them are common in northeast Ohio and surrounding states, and some even live here year round. One is the state bird of Ohio (and several other states). Do you have a favorite? If so, be sure to leave a comment to let us know which one it is.

 

Thanks for walking the trail today. How many did you identify?
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Color me Spring!, Monday Meander, My trail walks

A Monday Meander

Hello friends.
Join me for a morning meander along the trail.
We’ll visit a few of our bird friends to see what they are up to.
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The blue jay is hoping for some peanuts.
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The house wren is feathering her new nesting hole…
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And checking it out to see if the fit is good.
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The red-bellied woodpecker is also visiting his new nest.
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Checking both inside and out to see if it is ready for a family.
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The Great Horned Owl is not on her nest, but one of the owlets is testing his wings. He must be getting ready to fledge.

That’s all the news from the trail on this Monday morning. I didn’t see the belted kingfisher or the towhee, and I’m still waiting for my first glimpse of a Baltimore oriole. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

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

 

Posted in Color me Spring!, My trail walks, nature photography, Searching for Spring, woodpeckers

I never would have seen…

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Peek-a-boo! I see you, but you don’t see me!

I really wouldn’t have noticed the little red-bellied woodpecker peering out from its nesting hole, but another, sharper-eyed photographer had located the nesting hole high up in a tree in the middle of the bog. He pointed it out as we walked past the tree a few days ago. So I have Randy to thank for this set of pictures, and I am delighted to give him credit for his generosity in pointing it out so I could take these shots.

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Peering back into the nesting hole
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I zoomed in closer for a better look.
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I’m not sure this is the same bird. Could it be a female?

I’m not absolutely certain if there is one bird or two, so today I returned for another look, but nobody was home. I guess I will just have to keep checking out the nest on future trail walks.

To be updated if there is more to share.
See you soon with more tales from the trail! ~Trail Walker
Posted in belted kingfisher, bird photography, My trail walks

The right place at the right time!

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After visiting the Horned Owl family the other day, I headed for the pedestrian bridge to cross the Chagrin River. I had heard of some good migratory bird sightings on the other side and wanted to check them out for myself. Just starting to cross the bridge, I glanced to the right (downriver) and spotted this little belted kingfisher. It has been years since I last saw one, although I know they’ve been around. Was I excited? You bet! And this fellow posed there long enough for me to get several shots. Here are a few:

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His perch, on that branch overlooking the river, was no accident. He was fishing for dinner, and his next meal would very likely swim downriver, right beneath his perfectly situated perch. And, as I watched, that is exactly what happened.

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Watching the river.
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He spotted something in the water…and dove off the branch.

These clever little “fisherbirds” are fast and accurate, so hopefully he came up with something tasty for supper. Unfortunately, his dive off the branch was so sudden, I didn’t catch the end of the drama. Still, it was exciting to watch, and I walked on down the trail thinking how lucky I was to be in the right place at the right time to get these shots.

Thanks for walking with me today.
See you soon! ~Trail Walker
Posted in back yard buffet, backyard birding, pileated woodpecker

He’s still here, and guess what…

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…He’s not alone! He brought a friend.

Yesterday morning I heard the distinctive call the pileated woodpecker makes when he swoops in for a landing at the backyard buffet. So of course I picked up my camera and headed for my post at the kitchen window (It actually makes a good bird shooting blind, although I do my shooting with a Nikon D7100 instead of a gun). Sure enough there he was at his favorite suet feeder, and for the next 10 minutes, I tracked him from feeder to feeder and even over to our neighbor’s apple tree. I shot lots of pictures! Here’s a sampling:

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Next to the oriole feeder
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On our neighbor’s apple tree
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Scanning the neighborhood from the top of the hopper feeder
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Still scanning
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Leaning over to grab a bite of suet
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Hanging on the trunk of our tallest tree
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Swinging from the feeder on the old swing set

Now how observant are you? Can you tell which bird is our usual P.W. and which one is the “friend?” Here’s a hint: the friend is a female. Take another look at the pictures. Three are of the female friend. Can you pick them out?

Here’s another hint: the male has a red mustache and a full head of red hair.

Are you an expert on pileated woodpeckers or were you as surprised as I was to discover that our guest is actually two different birds? (The female is sitting next to the oriole feeder, hanging on the trunk of our tallest tree, and swinging from the feeder on the old swing set.) S/he had me fooled! What a surprise.

Hope you enjoyed this visit to our backyard bird buffet.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in Great Horned Owls, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, nature photography

Three owls-awake today!

Yesterday I posted a picture of the Great Horned Owl and her two owlets. Typical of babies, the little owls napped right through their photo opp, but when I returned to check on them this afternoon, they were awake.

Their nest is at the top of a broken off tree, and it doesn’t look very cozy to me, but it is perfectly camouflaged for the little family. As you can see, the babies are growing rapidly, and it’s a tight squeeze for Momma and the two owlets to sit side-by-side.

Here’s a closeup of the larger owlet. He really takes up more than his share of the space in the nest. Maybe Momma will be relieved when they have fledged. What do you think?

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I thought the owlets would be cute, and I was surprised at their features. They look almost human, in a weird sort of way, but I wouldn’t call them cute. What do you think?

Thanks for taking a walk down the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

Three owls

Look closely! Can you see all three great horned owls?

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There’s Momma Owl on the left, and next to her are her two owlets taking their naps. I’m not sure how old the babies are, but rumor has it that they were first spotted by a sharp-eyed birder a week or more ago. But that is just rumor, so I will have to confirm it. I only heard of them two days ago. This nest is about a mile from our house, on one of the trails I frequently walk. With these owls, the recent “big bird” sightings in our neighborhood has increased by three: the eagle and pileated woodpecker I posted last week and now a great horned owl and her owlets. It’s been a banner week for big birds. I wonder what will be next?

See you soon!
Trail Walker