A walk in the park

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Friday dawned with sunny, but cool weather, so as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared off the table, I pulled on a warm jacket and headed to Chagrin River Park. There weren’t many birds willing to pose for a picture, although I did spot a female cardinal. That’s her at the top of this post. Most of the pictures I took today were landscapes and riverscapes, (Is that really a word?) I don’t have time to post them all tonight because my eyes are already at half-mast and bed is calling, but along with the lady cardinal, here are three of my favorites:
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By afternoon, the clouds you can see in these pictures had turned into drizzle, so I was very thankful that I had put  my trail walk before my housework. I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow’s post. Please come back then. (There will be at least two more birds!)

See you tomorrow…
after I finish the housework I neglected today.

~Trail Walker

A good day on the trails

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It was definitely a good day on the trail in Chagrin River Park, but a very tedious weekend at the computer cleaning up my 18 years of photo files. I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that I am making progress. Unfortunately, there is still more work to be done, and I will be back at it tomorrow after church. Meanwhile, here are some birds who posed for me in the park this weekend.

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Northern cardinal-male

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Northern cardinal-female
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White-throated sparrow
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Lady cardinal with a mouthful of peanut chips
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Hungry blue jay

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Red-bellied woodpecker and a house sparrow

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Red-winged blackbird-a true sign of spring
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Happy red-bellied woodpecker

I was happy to be back on the trail with my camera in hand, and I hope you enjoy the pictures. Sorry to say, but I’m run out of energy, so it’s time to turn out the lights.

See you in a day, or two, or three at the most!
Trail Walker

 

More backyard birding

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The colorful bird featured in my post yesterday, the redheaded woodpecker, is extremely rare in my backyard. Today’s bird, the Baltimore oriole, used to stop by on rare occasions only. Now it flies in for multiple visits daily, enjoying the grape jelly I generously serve in the new jelly dish I purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited. It’s a bird named for a baseball team and a slight twist on the expression, “If you build it, they will come,” from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams.” In my case, it’s “If you buy it (their favorite kind of food and feeder), they will come.”

Here’s a memory for baseball fans “of a certain age” who can remember when two major league teams played in Philadelphia. Many years ago, when Connie Mack’s Athletics were still making headlines at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, my father and I were big fans. We would go to the season openers and shiver in the box seats on the home team’s side, hoping for a win by our A’s; and we would sit in the sun to watch spring training games in West Palm Beach, Florida to cheer them on.  When the A’s left Philadelphia and my parents retired and moved to Baltimore, Daddy switched his allegiance to the Orioles. I’m sure he would love to see these beautiful birds in my backyard and to share these memories with me, and I wish mightily that I could share them with him.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you like these orioles!
~Trail Walker

Spring migration was in full swing…

Two weeks ago, when the annual spring migration was in full swing, birders were all agog over their unique opportunities to see and photograph unusual warblers and other birds rarely seen in our area. Many parks celebrated with special events, and birders planned field trips to prime location along the shoreline. I didn’t have time to take part in the festivities this year, but to my surprise, on Saturday, May 13th, a number of unexpected guests flew into my backyard bird buffet.

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Through the morning and most of the afternoon birds were flying from feeder to feeder and tree to tree, while I stood and gawked in amazement. For me, the most exciting  visitor was the redheaded woodpecker. Downy and red-bellied woodpeckers are common visitors. Even the pileated woodpecker that I blogged about yesterday has become a regular this summer, but seeing that redheaded bird in my backyard was a huge treat and a cause for celebration.

Could I ask for a more photogenic guest? While he may be common in other areas, he is definitely a rarity in my backyard buffet. What an unusual Saturday that was!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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