Red-bellied woodpecker

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

When one of these beautiful birds flies in for a photo op, it always makes me smile! It posed happily and wasn’t the least intimidated by my presence.

Almanac

After temperatures of nearly 80 degrees on Sunday, spring deserted us. On Tuesday night snow fell. Only about an inch and a half, but snow is decidedly unwelcome, especially when it is April and we are eager for spring flowers and blossoming fruit trees. The temperature this morning was 24 degrees, but the sun was shining, skies were blue, and the light was wonderful for taking pictures. I was reminded that I need to get up and out earlier to take advantage of the golden hour for photography when the day is still fresh. Breakfast can wait! More pictures from recent photo walks are posted here in my SmugMug gallery.

 

Blog update

To make the most of my photo websites, I have connected them. In the future, my WordPress blog posts, i.e. Seen Along the Trail,  will be automatically linked to my Facebook page, and a link to my photo galleries on SmugMug will be included in each post. If you enjoy my photos and blog ramblings, I would love to hear from you in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Mallard Mania

With spring on the horizon (hopefully), the mallards on the bog have gone into courtship mode. They are great entertainment on my daily photowalks. You can see more Mallard Mania here.

Busy days recently. I will try to be more regular in my posts!
Skip aka Carolyn

Hobnobbing with the chickadees

The chickadees in my neighborhood park are well-acquainted with my habit of carrying sunflower seeds in the pocket of my jacket, a fact that brings them flying when they see me tramping down the trail. Yesterday I actually had one land on my hat, but usually they just light on a tree branch or bush nearby, hoping that I have brought them a treat.

Today I had a different kind of chickadee experience. It seems that chickadees are attracted by the song of the Carolina wren. A photographer friend told me she had seen the wrens recently in the area around the evergreen trees, so I headed down that trail. Not seeing any, I got out my phone, opened the iBird app, and played the Carolina wren song. I hoped to see a wren appear among the evergreens, but what appeared instead were, you guessed it, chickadees, and they posed quite willingly on the branches of the evergreen trees.

Unfortunately, as the sun was shining brilliantly (a novelty for March here on the south shore of Lake Erie) and the chickadees had perched on the dark evergreen trees, the camera metered for the dark green trees and completely blew out the white feathers on the chickadees, a fact I didn’t realize it until I saw the pictures on my computer. So today I am sharing with you this picture, one of only two that were salvageable from the 10 or so that I shot today. Lesson learned…and shared with my “blog buddies.”

Until next time…
Carolyn aka Skip

The rear of a deer

Several whitetail deer crossed the trail in front of me. As I watched, this one leaped off the trail and into the woods. Their grace and beauty make these animals a joy to watch. A very large herd of whitetails lives in our neighborhood park, which is fine so long as they stay in the park. However, they don’t! Every night, and sometimes during the day, they migrate from the park into the surrounding neighborhoods. There they feast on flowers, bulbs, flowering trees, and, under cover of darkness, the seed I put in our bird feeders for the chickadees, nuthatches, and other songbirds. The deer are also a hazard on the highways. It’s too bad they can’t comprehend boundaries. On the other hand, it’s too bad that people have taken over so much of their habitat with housing subdivisions, shopping malls, six-lane highways and the like.It’s an ongoing problem with no good solution.

That’s all for tonight!
See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

Dancing Duck

Wondering what was sitting on top of the duck nest in the middle of the bog, I walked a little closer, and this is what I saw, a lady mallard. At first she just seemed to be taking a siesta, but as I watched, she stirred, stood up, stretched, and performed a little dance routine. From the expression on her face, she must have been pretty satisfied with herself! Here’s a little slideshow of Momma Mallard in action:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Great horned owl

A great horned owl is sitting on a nest in the park where I usually take my photowalks. Last week it was pointed out to me, but the owl was not in sight, although others had seen it. Today I took a few pictures of the nest, came home, and brought them up on my computer screen, and I could see the little tufts on the top of her head. Can you see them?

According to the bird app on my computer, the owl lays one to five dull white eggs in an abandoned nest made by hawks or crows, which this nest is. She will incubate the eggs for 28-35 days, and it is mostly the female who does the hard work of sitting on the eggs until they hatch. If all goes well, we could see at least one nestling in four weeks or so.

I find that exciting, and I will keep you updated.
Carolyn aka Skip

Sparrows can be SO confusing!

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow -2

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow -2

I knew it was a sparrow, but I couldn’t find it in my bird app on my iPad. Then I had a brainstorm (Don’t know what took so long) and posted it to my Facebook page, asking for help with the ID. Within minutes, a friend I didn’t realize was an expert on birds chimed in with an answer. So lesson learned! If you don’t know, ask on Facebook! I am not much of a Facebooker. I only visit it rarely because I am too busy taking photowalks and then organizing and processing my pictures, but I’ve just discovered how useful Facebook can be as a birding resource. In my opinion, that’s a great discovery. Here are a couple more pictures of this pretty little bird:

Immature white-crowned sparrow
Immature white-crowned sparrow
His colors are more subdued than the adult.
His colors are more subdued than the adult.

Hope you like the little brown job that I now know is an immature white-crowned sparrow. Live and learn!

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

A blanket of snow

2013_02_17_nature_094
Much to my delight, snow fell last night and covered the muddy trails in the park. Winter without snow can be pretty dull and tiresome, in my opinion. The unremitting brown-and-greyness of it wears on me after a while…a pretty short while to tell the truth. I think my feelings stem from our location on the south shore of Lake Erie. We don’t get many sunny days from November to May, and a nice snowfall puts a whole new face on things and consequently lifts my spirits.

The bird you can see on the fence post is a red-bellied woodpecker. When I spotted it, my camera was wearing its 35mm lens. Opening my bag, I grabbed out the 70-300mm zoom, clicked it into place, looked up and the WP was gone! Darn uncooperative bird! It would have looked so good against the snow too. Instead I will offer you two shots of the downy woodpecker who agreed to substitute for his red-bellied relative.
2013_02_17_nature_137

2013_02_17_nature_140

That’s it for today. I’m ready for some relaxation. See you soon.

P.S. If you want to see a few more pictures from today’s photowalk, they start here.
Carolyn aka Skip

Unusual pose for a nuthatch

Walking in the park, I am much more likely to see the nuthatches (and there are hundreds of them) land in a tree and walk down the trunk. That is typical behavior for the nuthatch, but this fellow decided to pose a little differently for his portrait. I wonder if he is more vain than the rest of them?

Carolyn aka Skip

I found “big bird!”!

Look at those holes he has dug in the tree.Look at those holes the pileated woodpecker has dug in the tree.

I have been tracking this big bird for weeks, actually for the entire winter, ever since I realized that there was one living in our neighborhood park. Now I know that there isn’t just one, but a pair, a male and a female. This is the female. The red streak along the jaw is what tells us the gender of the bird. One of the walkers I see in the park told me he had seen both of them together. Now that would REALLY be beyond exciting. Cross your finger and watch this space. I’ll keep looking!

Carolyn aka Skip

P.S. I posted a few more pileated pictures in my photo portfolio at SmugMug. Take a look if you are interested.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: