It was a cold evening in the park…

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As I trekked down the trail, I was joined by some birds and a few other woodland critters. As usual there were some curious deer, watching from among the trees. Only one ventured close enough for me to take a clear picture. She opened her mouth, as if to ask if I had a treat to share with her.

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When I wandered down the path to the split rail fence, hoping to see the elusive red-bellied woodpecker this evening, the first critter to catch my eye was this squirrel, who paused  on top of the fence post long enough for me to capture his picture:
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Farther up the trail, I walked out onto the pedestrian bridge and saw a human critter, a fisherman, standing in the middle of the river, casting his fishing line into the darkening water. I didn’t hang around to watch because I was beginning to feel chilled by the wind whipping up the river and seeping through  my protective layers. To my eye, fly fishing is like  poetry in motion, so I snapped a few pictures before moving on. Despite the cold, the fisherman seemed to be enjoying his lonely occupation.
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Back at the fence corner, I watched as a greedy house sparrow landed on the fence post and snitched a couple of peanuts.

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Still, I waited, hoping to see the red-bellied woodpecker, and finally, my patience was rewarded when he flew in and landed on the post. With a sigh of delight, I clicked off a few pictures.

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The evening wasn’t quite over yet. As I stood there, camera ready in my frozen fingers,  I witnessed a confrontation between two sparrows and a black-capped chickadee over who was going to grab the next peanut.

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When one of the sparrows picked up the peanut, I grabbed my last photo and headed home. Cold but happy, I had enjoyed my trek along the trail this evening.

Thanks for trekking with me!
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

The right place at the right time!

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After visiting the Horned Owl family the other day, I headed for the pedestrian bridge to cross the Chagrin River. I had heard of some good migratory bird sightings on the other side and wanted to check them out for myself. Just starting to cross the bridge, I glanced to the right (downriver) and spotted this little belted kingfisher. It has been years since I last saw one, although I know they’ve been around. Was I excited? You bet! And this fellow posed there long enough for me to get several shots. Here are a few:

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His perch, on that branch overlooking the river, was no accident. He was fishing for dinner, and his next meal would very likely swim downriver, right beneath his perfectly situated perch. And, as I watched, that is exactly what happened.

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Watching the river.
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He spotted something in the water…and dove off the branch.

These clever little “fisherbirds” are fast and accurate, so hopefully he came up with something tasty for supper. Unfortunately, his dive off the branch was so sudden, I didn’t catch the end of the drama. Still, it was exciting to watch, and I walked on down the trail thinking how lucky I was to be in the right place at the right time to get these shots.

Thanks for walking with me today.
See you soon! ~Trail Walker

The river runs through it!

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Many of my trail walks are centered in Chagrin River Park because it is within walking distance of my home. Not surprisingly, the park is named for the river that runs through it, but there is some uncertainty about where the name of the river originated. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

The Chagrin River is located in Northeast Ohio.[1] The river has two branches, the Aurora Branch and East Branch. Of three hypotheses as to the origin of the name, the most probable is that it is a corruption of the name of a Frenchman, Sieur de Seguin, who established a trading post on the river ca. 1742.[2][3][4] The Chagrin River runs through suburban areas of Greater Cleveland in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Portage counties, transects two Cleveland Metroparks reservations, and then meanders into nearby Lake County before emptying into Lake Erie.

Whatever the origin of the name, the Chagrin is a great river for fishing, and at this time of year, when the salmon are running, fishermen come from far and wide (even from out-of-state) to try their luck. One afternoon recently, I spotted a flurry of activity along the river bank. Upon closer investigation, this is the event I witnessed:

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I learned, after the fact, from the two bystanders (on the right in the pictures), that the man with the rod is an avid retired fisherman who dedicates all his time to fishing the river. The bystanders, friends of mine, told me he had regaled them with amazing “fish tales.”

Just as they were leaving the scene to continue their walk, he hooked this fish and called them back to watch the drama play out. The man with the net was another fisherman who entered the fray when the fisherman called out, “Does anybody have a net?” They landed the fish, measured  and admired it, and ultimately released it, as required by law. The last two pictures show the release with the one bystander, at the request of the fisherman, snapping a few pictures of his catch of the day (The fisherman apparently didn’t know that I was standing at the top of the bank, capturing the entire scene).   Sometimes you just get lucky, and that afternoon the fisherman did, and so did I!

Thanks for joining me along the trail today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

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