Ugh! Not my favorite weather.

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Autumn turned a corner this morning. From lovely, colorful, walk-in-the-arboretum weather, we suddenly transitioned to overcast, drizzly, sit-in-front-of-the-computer-processing-last week’s-pictures weather. The picture above was taken last week on the trail in Chagrin River Park, just a mile from my front door. Because of the aforementioned weather, I’m taking a pass on my trail walk today, so here are a few more pictures from last week’s walk. Not totally devoid of color, they are definitely on the downhill side of Autumn, headed toward winter.

Nevertheless, I will drag out my winter hat, gloves, boots, and hand warmers so I can  continue taking trail walks.  There will still be some sunny days ahead. For that matter,  I don’t mind walking in the snow, although during winter, sunshine is at a premium this close to Lake Erie, where gray, overcast skies are the norm!  But, whatever the weather, I need the exercise, so I will continue trail walking and capturing pictures!

Hope you stop by soon!

~Trail Walker

 

Another morning trail walk

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Today’s first discovery showed up before we reached the park when I spotted this bluebird in the backyard. He appears pretty regularly in the morning, right about breakfast time. Often I don’t see him again until the next morning, but it is still a treat to get a daily visit.

In the park, I was delighted to discover a beautiful brown thrasher scrabbling around in the leaf litter along the trail. He was hard to spot because he blended so well with the dead leaves, and he was even harder to photograph because he wasn’t interested in posing. He was way too busy searching for tasty tidbits for his breakfast. I’ve read that these brown thrashers are the only thrasher species east of Texas, and they are known to be exuberant singers with extensive repertoires. Click on one of the pictures for a closer look.(Sorry I can’t include the song, but this bird was too busy rummaging through the leaf litter to treat us to a concert this morning).

After watching the thrasher for a while, I paused near the fence rail where I photographed a white-throated sparrow and a male cardinal.

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White throated sparrow

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Northern cardinal

I would’ve liked to continue on down the trail, but my companions, Bob and Mabel the sheepdog, wanted to head home so they could share a piece of toast and get started on the morning’s agenda. (For Mabel, that would be a nap!) So that’s it for today trail walk.

See you soon, fellow walkers! Thanks for joining me today.
Trail Walker aka Skip

 

Wet and windy!

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The windy, wet, 38 degree day is definitely not what drew me outside for a trail walk in Chagrin River Park this morning. No Way! What got me out was what I have written about in previous blog posts: my intention to be more active and my determination to increase my stamina and energy. So after breakfast, when the rain had let up, Bob, Mabel (the sheepdog) and I took to the trail.

There wasn’t much to see, but I did capture pictures of a few little birds:

If the birds look a bit bedraggled, that’s exactly how I was feeling. Frozen fingers and wet feet aren’t appealing; however, I am determined to log more miles/steps every day, and Mabel can be pretty demanding if she doesn’t get her morning walk, so out we went. Windy, wet, and bedraggled, but proud of the progress I am making in keeping up with my intentions. (For more about those intentions, read this earlier blog post.)

See you soon, trail walkers.
Keep those fingers crossed for “springier” weather!
Trail Walker

An early Spring morning

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Join me for a little early morning birding on the first truly beautiful spring day. The morning dawned cool and hazy and got better as the day went on. By evening, under sunny skies, the park was filled with people…and birds… enjoying our first real taste of spring.

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red-bellied woodpecker
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white-throated sparrow
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northern cardinal
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reflections on the bog
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Bluejay
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Bluejay
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Red-bellied woodpecker with a peanut

I don’t have anything else to say. I just wanted to share the beauty of this morning walk.

See you soon for another stroll in the park.
Join me for a walk and be sure to bring your camera.
Trail Walker

Heads down, tails up!

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Walking in the park today, I saw a lot of mallard ducks, both male and female. The males, like the handsome fellow pictured above, were at times swimming sedately in the river and, at other times, diving down for a treat. Comically waving their orange-colored feet in the air, they scrambled around underwater, searching for  food .

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Heads down, tails up!

At the same time, their female counterparts, splashing around nearby, were having absolutely fabulous fun, as you can see from the smiles on their faces.
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Who knew that ducks could have that much fun?

That’s it for today’s photowalk, friends.
Come back soon for another trek down the trail,
and don’t forget to bring your camera because you never know what we will see!

~Trail Walker

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

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