When the snow finally fell…

 I saw a walker hurrying toward me…

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Then I noticed why she was in such a hurry.

A big buck  behind her was closing in!

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And right behind him were two more bucks, headed her way.

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Look closely! There are three bucks in this picture.

With a healthy sense of self preservation, I clicked off a few pictures, swung around, and left them all behind. Following the trail that  led to the sledding hill, I paused to capture a few pictures of the sledders. Nobody was warming up by the fire pit because they were all on the hillside having fun.

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Also along the trail today, flitting among the trees and just possibly hoping for some peanuts or other tasty treats, I saw birds who don’t seem to mind the cold weather…

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Mrs. Cardinal, her feathers ruffled by the wind!
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Mr. Cardinal
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Mrs. C. with a peanut
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And a pair of chubby titmice, their feathers fluffed up against the cold.

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Heading towards me, I saw a happy little dog, bundled up in her winter coat…

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…bouncing down the trail, and Atka, a big dog with an Eskimo name, according to the person with him.

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Winter sunsets happen quickly in this latitude, and the afternoon was rapidly waning. It was time to follow the trail back to the parking lot and head for home. I hope you enjoyed today’s trail walk. Cold weather is coming our way…really cold weather with temperatures hovering near (or below) 0 degrees F. Don’t look for me on the trail for a few days…not until the temperature moderates to something around 23 degrees or higher. I’m fine with winter and snow, and all that, but there is a limit to my tolerance for frigid temps. Here is one more shot from the trail; then maybe for a few days I’ll snap some backyard birds at the feeders…from inside my kitchen window… until the weather warms up again!

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Thanks for treading the trail with me today.
Trail Walker

There’s nothing quite like it!

 

Nothing quite like what, you ask? Well, to be honest, you may or may not agree with me, but I maintain that there’s nothing quite like a trail walk in the first real snow of the season. It isn’t even winter yet, just the downhill end of Autumn, but on this December morning we woke up to snow-covered trails, slippery slopes, and frigid fingers. And oh, how glorious to walk down the trail through a pristine white world…such a contrast to our earlier Autumn walks.

I’m reluctant to admit it, but Autumn with its blue skies, crisp air, and vibrant palette has truly come to an end, and we are faced with Winter: the season of boots with cleats to prevent slipping and sliding, gloves that challenge me as I try to press the shutter button, and lenses (the camera and mine) that constantly fog over as I exhale in the frosty air. Winter brings with it a myriad of new challenges for the trail walking photographer, but new joys come with the challenges. Here are just a few that I spotted along the trail this snowy morning:

Whitetailed deer
The does are more curious than fearful.
A female northern cardinal
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White-breasted nuthatch
Another cardinal. The red male cardinals were hiding today!
A stare down with two does!
I’m not sure of the identity of this bird, but it posed perfectly!

That’s it for today, trailwalkers. I hope you liked this preview of sights we’ll see on future  wintry walks. Be sure to wear lots of layers and get some cleats to put on your boots for our next winter walk.

Thanks for trudging down the trail with me!
Sharing the trail makes each walk extra special.
~Trail Walker

Peaceful morning trail walk

Rising early this morning, I knew I had a busy day ahead of me with places to go and people to see. So I chose to start the day with a quiet walk in Chagrin River Park, and that, as Robert Frost might have said, made all the difference. Join me and take a look.

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Pedestrian bridge over the Chagrin River
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Morning shadows on the river

Two views of the fire pit. On this chilly morning…jacket weather, someone had come early to build the fire, well before I got there.

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A man was tending the fire, but he was some distance away.
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Empty benches

Before long, I had to leave the park and hurry off to begin my day. It was as full and busy as I had expected, but a glorious day for the end of September. Autumn was in the air!

Thanks for joining me today. Hope to 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

Regular birds, but irregular weather

Walking down the trail a few days ago, I saw and heard a bird I didn’t recognize. Sitting by itself on the branch of a tree, it was singing a happy song. I’m sure it was just as delighted with the warm weather and sunshine as I was. Here are a couple of pictures of the happy bird. It sounded like a phoebe, but I’m not sure that’s the right ID. If you  know, please let me know in the comment section below.

Correction: Eliza Waters took the time to identify this happy songster as an Eastern Towhee.  That qualifies it as one of our regular birds. ~Thanks, Eliza.

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Unfortunately for both the happy songbird and me, the weather changed drastically last night, and the temperature has dropped some 30 degrees as clouds and, now rain, moved in! Sigh! 😖  However, despite the changeable weather patterns (that I blame on our location on the south shore of Lake Erie), spring is bound to come sooner or later. We’ll just have to wait a little longer.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

To complete today’s post, below are a few more “regular birds” I enjoyed along the trail this week.

 

 

Thanks for visiting, friends.
Wishing you sunny days and blue skies!
Trail Walker

I was surprised…

On my Sunday afternoon walk in the park, Momma Owl and one fluffy owlet were sitting up in plain sight in their nest. I was told there is a second owlet, but apparently it was in hiding. The curly haired little owlet can easily be seen in two of the pictures, but then Momma, likely restless from sitting so long in her tree top cavity, decided to change her position. The third picture gives a good idea of how big she is.  (Click on any picture for a larger version).

 

Although the website I checked said a mature Great Horned Owl is similar to a crow or goose and slightly larger than a red-tailed hawk, she looks really chubby, even bigger than I expected. The nest must be at least 20 feet above ground, although I am no judge of heights, so that could be wrong. Momma cannot move her eyes from side to side, but all Great Horned Owls can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees so they can look in any direction. This little family is exciting to see and  for weeks has attracted lots of attention from all the bird watchers and photo fanatics in the park. They must wonder at the crowds gathered at the base of their tree, aiming cameras at them from sunup to sundown.

Our weather was cold yesterday and again today (in the 30s), but we are expecting a warm up later in the week. With the warmer temperatures, rain and overcast skies are predicted, but I hope to get a few more portraits of the owl family this week. Cross your fingers for more sunshine please!

Thanks for stopping for a visit today.
Trail Walker

 

Persistence

Feeding animals in the park is frowned upon, and I understand why, so I don’t feed them…most definitely not the deer because that could create unpleasant and perhaps even frightening situations for other walkers. However, I will sometimes drop a few peanuts in an out-of-the-way spot or hold out a few in my hand, just for the little birds. And they will demonstrate remarkable persistence, just for that little piece of shelled peanut.

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People could learn a lesson in persistence from the birds, and persistence is a very valuable trait. So if someone tells you that you are stubborn, just remind them that you are persistent, not stubborn. Words do make a difference!

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Silent Sunday

Easter afternoon walk in the park

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Sunday nap
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Family on the trail
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White-throated sparrow (1)
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White-throated sparrow (2)
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Female mallard

Trail walking again

It’s not that I have forgotten to take pictures lately, but trail walking (and blogging) have taken a back seat to other responsibilities and the mundane routines of daily life…and the weather has not been friendly to photo walking. Temperatures way below freezing and icy trails have kept me closer to home than usual. Consequently, I haven’t had much to post on my photo blog. Today, finally,  the weather was good: cold, crisp, and more or less dry, and I decided to take a walk…as soon as I finished some necessary desk work.

Unfortunately, by the time I finished the work and glanced at the clock, I discovered it was already five pm. Sunset was imminent. “Better hurry,” I told myself, as I grabbed my camera and car keys, and headed to Chagrin River Park to meet Bob. In the little time left before complete dark, I captured a few pictures of the river and, passing by the fire pit, another one of a pair of bike riders warming up by the fire.

 

But finally it was too dark to see where we were walking, so we turned down the trail that led to the car park. That’s when I spotted the moon playing peek-a-boo behind the clouds, and I captured one final photo to take home.

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It had turned out to be a short trail walk, but we did get a little exercise, and I’m happy with the results. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

I hope to have more to show you soon!
Trail Walker

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