Birds before breakfast

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I was excited when I glanced through the kitchen window  at the backyard buffet and discovered an Eastern bluebird posing for multiple photo opps. The sky was overcast, as it usually is in February. A sunny blue sky would have been appreciated, but it wasn’t essential because this colorful visitor arrived with his own special brand of sunshine. And talk about blue! The hue on his wings suggested that they  had been dipped into a can of brilliant blue paint. Take a look at these photos of his morning grooming session.

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Mr. Bluebird wasn’t our only visitor yesterday.  Look who else stopped by to say hello! These unexpected sightings…all before breakfast, made this a memorable morning.

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The pileated woodpecker didn’t hold his pose for as much as a minute. He flew in, landed long enough for me to click off two shots, and whoooooshhh, he was gone!   But I got the shots, which made this a very good morning!

Thanks for stopping by to say hello.
Hope to see you soon!
Trail Walker

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird go house hunting

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My last 10 days have been busy, so busy I haven’t had any time to post my pictures of the drama in our backyard, but Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird have been even busier. Their hunt for suitable housing has been a challenging one.  2017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_0060

Mr. Bluebird took the initiative in the house hunt. Maybe his mate was nagging him to get out there and find them a place to raise their young. For a few days he was very industrious, while she sat on the sidelines and watched.

He seemed to be really attracted to the brand new box. He tried to enter the door, but halfway in he would change his mind, back out, and fly over to the old, weather-beaten box. Time after time, he repeated that maneuver, going into the old box, then flying over to the new one, but he never could seem to get into the shiny new box. Maybe he had the wrong key? Eventually, the landlord (My husband), decided to lend a hand. Out he went with a drill and a file to make the entrance a little wider, but Mr. Bluebird still didn’t seem to find the entrance satisfactory.

After watching this process for a few days, Mrs. Bluebird must have lost her patience watching him try out first one box, then the other…over and over again, because eventually she flew over to supervise.

Before long she tired of the role of supervisor and flew over to a nearby tree where the goldfinch must have given a sympathetic ear to her complaints. Then for a while she simply sat on the sidelines and watched.

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However, her mate wasn’t finished yet. Back he flew to the new nesting box for another go at getting inside.  He tried and tried. He was determined!2017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_01492017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_01462017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_00732017_05_12_Places_backyard buffet_0167

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Mr. Bluebird looks with longing at the beautiful nesting box. He really wanted it, and he put his heart into getting in, but it was not to be.

For several days, I spent a lot of time at my kitchen window, watching this drama unfold. The hapless house hunter never did get into the new home he had set his heart on. I thought they may decide to settle for the run-down box I won at a raffle several years ago, but I’m not sure. He persevered and made a valiant attempt, but at this point, it doesn’t look as if he succeeded.  It would be exciting to see their little family hatch and fledge. I’m not giving up hope yet, but I didn’t see them today, so it is possible they have moved in somewhere else. When I have some news, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for visiting the backyard buffet today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

Backyard bonanza

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The last few days have brought some surprise visitors to our backyard buffet. Saturday of the second week in May is International Migratory Bird Day…a big occasion here on the south shore of Lake Erie. Birds migrating northward to their summer homes have to cross Lake Erie if the route they take goes through Ohio. Their journey is long, the weather isn’t always favorable, and when they reach Lake Erie, needing to rest up for the long leg of their trip across the Lake,  birders in northeast Ohio find their forests and backyard inundated with an amazing variety of birds, many of which aren’t commonly seen here. Surprises are not unusual, and this weekend we have had a few  right in our own backyard.

One surprise was the reappearance of bluebirds showing an interest in the nesting box we recently installed in the backyard. We weren’t sure they would return because until January I had never seen a bluebird in our backyard, but we bought and installed it anyway with the theory that, “If you build it, they will come.” And they did. They are curious about the little house, although none have moved in yet. It may be too new and in need of seasoning.

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Checking the size of the entrance
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Is he thinking about moving in with his mate?

The bluebirds make me really happy. I can’t help smiling when I see them at the feeders, but the biggest surprise of all, the one pictured below, appeared yesterday.

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I have never seen a redheaded woodpecker in our backyard!
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But today he has come to visit. Serendipity!

There have been other surprise visitors too, but I will save them for another blog post. It is raining again tonight after several dry but chilly days. It doesn’t seem much like May, but I heard a rumor that it might get really warm (maybe even hot) next week. That’s something to look forward to!

Thanks for stopping by. I love it when you visit.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

Rain-streaked and wind-swept

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After several day’s absence, the Eastern bluebirds reappeared at the Backyard Buffet this morning. Unfortunately, our recent weather has not been kind to the little birds. Instead of sunshine and blue skies, they have been welcomed by rain, wind, and cold temperatures. This morning the weather was especially unpleasant and has gone from unpleasant to miserable as the day progressed.

When I spotted them through my kitchen window, I quickly grabbed the camera. Unfortunately, I had to shoot through a rain-streaked window and a lot of haze. Most of my pictures didn’t turn out so well, but here are two more that aren’t too blurry:

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Eager to encourage regular visits, I set out a good feast, but I hope the stalwart little birds don’t get discouraged by the weather. They’re probably wishing they had taken a southern vacation instead of hanging around Lake Erie!

That’s today’s update from the Backyard Buffet.
Thanks for stopping by.
Maybe we’ll have better weather for your next visit.
🙂  Trail Walker

 

 

Back to the bluebirds

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I’m always delighted when I see Eastern bluebirds, especially when they are visiting my Backyard Bird Buffet. When yesterday dawned cold and soggy, I wasn’t expecting to see them, but as Bob and I watched the regular, daily visitors to the Buffet, a little flock of bluebirds joined the crowd and made themselves at home.

First this little male visited the new seed cylinder. I didn’t see him munching at the cylinder, but apparently it also works well as a perch and a place to check out the activity in the backyard.

A female joined him…
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…and he kept watch while she tasted a tidbit.

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Next they flew to the stump where they were joined by another female.

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Uh-oh, an intruder!

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A hungry one!
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Fortunately red-bellied woodpeckers are not a threat to bluebirds and other songbirds, so peace was restored in the Bird Buffet until a hawk flew in for a visit. At that point, all the guests at the Backyard Buffet scattered for safety. No one was left for the hawk to harm, so he flew away too.

That’s the end of Tuesday’s adventures at the Backyard Buffet.
Thanks for visiting! See you soon.
Trail Walker

Another day, another bluebird!

It was a cold morning (30 degrees), but the sun was shining brightly, so I took to the trail in search of the elusive (to me) bluebird, and today, he was there, right on the nesting box where I hoped to see him. There was only one, no mate, but possibly she was inside the nesting box. One can hope, at any rate.

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Eastern bluebird
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Eastern bluebird

How can you not smile when you see these bright-eyed little birds? When the sun shines all day and a bluebird shows up to pose for his picture, the day is off to a good start!

On another note, I saw a tiny bird that I can’t identify flitting from branch to branch of an evergreen by the sledding hill. I didn’t get a good picture, but I’m posting him anyway, hoping that someone can give me an ID. He was one of the fastest moving birds I’ve encountered in a long time, and an expert at hiding behind branches.I snapped a lot of pictures, and this was the best I could do.  If you know what it is, please leave a comment.

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Thanks for joining me along the trail today.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Another Friday Face: Bob

The first day of May, a Friday, was the day we had waited for all winter. Sunny blue skies, warm air, and soft breezes drew lots of visitors to Chagrin River Park. I was one of the visitors, carrying my camera with two goals for the morning’s photo walk:

  1. The first goal was to find another park visitor, a stranger to me, who would be willing to let me take his or her picture for my Friday Faces gallery. I was standing near the bluebird nesting boxes, hoping to see a pair of bluebirds, when I noticed a man standing nearby who seemed to be just as interested in the bluebirds as I was. After awhile he began to ask questions about them. He said he used to pay no attention to the birds but recently has discovered that they are fascinating to watch. That started a conversation and allowed me to ask him if I could take his picture for my Friday Faces project. With no hesitation and only a slightly surprised look on his face, he replied, “Sure!” So here’s Bob! Thanks, Bob, for the photo opp. I hope you like your picture.

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2. My second goal was to get a good picture of a bluebird. In all my walks to the park in April, I hadn’t even spotted one, let alone taken a good picture of it, but today, I was in luck on both of my quests. I found a great new Friday Face for my gallery, and the bluebirds were out and about. Here’s one that posed especially nicely for his picture:

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For the Record

  • Weather-As I said above, it was a gorgeous morning, a great day to be in the park, a great day to meet an interesting new person, and a great day for bluebirds.
  • Exercise-I had time for a long walk, but have lost the little slip that said how many steps I walked. I know for certain that I didn’t reach my goal of 7200. I’ve got a long way to go to achieve that goal.Today I will have to be satisfied with achieving two of my three goals.
  • Thanks for visiting. If you want to leave a comment, please do. I look forward to connecting with other bloggers, and if you like bluebirds, that’s a bonus!

Think Spring!

As our long, cold, snowy winter recedes into the past, we can look forward to blue skies and sunny days, bird song, and flowers bursting into bloom. No, they won’t arrive at warp speed, but there is no denying they are on the way, so bring ’em on! In the spirit of spring, today is a good day to post some of the birds that are welcoming spring in Chagrin River Park (Remember to click on a bird to scroll through the gallery).

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~Maria Robinson

I plan to start today to think spring! How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.
Carolyn aka Skip

PS: No exercise to report today, but the sunshine has been great!

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