Confused by the weather

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Since the beginning of the year, our weather has been unsettled, or maybe I should say unsettling. We’ve had snow, extreme cold, and now rain. Glancing out the kitchen window this morning, I noticed an empty hopper feeder. Slipping on my jacket and boots, I sloshed out and refilled the feeder. A short while later, I spotted this little critter on the tree stump enjoying a feast.

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As you can see, the squirrel is not on the hopper feeder, but on a nearby tree stump. It makes no difference to him, just as long as someone treks out to refill the food supply, and I imagine he is pleased to find his snack on the stump, instead of in the puddles that surround it.

Two weeks ago, the stump was covered with snow and the backyard looked like this.

Snowy Sunday

When Bob carried out the bucket of birdseed to refill the feeders, he had to sweep off the top of the stump before scattering the birdseed and pouring seed in the feeders. That was on January 27th.
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For a few days, a joyful crowd of sledders, had a grand time on the hill in Chagrin River Park (See my recent post “When the Snow Finally Fell”). Unfortunately, a few days later, during the first week of February, our temperatures topped out in the sixties, with 63 degrees on February 4th, and 61 degrees on February 7th. The snow melted, and the sledders vacated the now-barren sledding hill in the Park. Then, on February 9th, when the high temperature once again plummeted to 21 degrees, our brief taste of spring ended; the rains came; and the river almost reached flood stage, prompting warning calls from the authorities who keep a watch on such things.

Currently we are in a holding pattern. I can hear cars splashing through the puddles as they drive past our house, and I have no incentive whatsoever to take my camera to the park or the Arboretum for a trail walk. Who knows when spring will actually put in a real appearance. After all, it is still February. In Cleveland, we don’t hold out much hope for sunshine and flowers until at least April…or maybe sometime in May???

Cross your fingers fellow trail walkers.
And don’t put away your boots yet!
~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

A walk in the park…part 2

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Lone fisherman in the shadow of the “power towers”

I ended my last post with the words, “I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow’s post.” “Tomorrow” turned out to be longer than I expected,” but finally, after several frenetically busy days, I have come back to share the pictures from Last Friday’s walk in Chagrin River Park. At the top of today’s post is a picture of a fisherman wading in the shadow of the power towers in Eastlake, Ohio. Looming behind those huge steel structures, which somehow remind me of the legs of huge, metal grasshoppers, are the power plant’s smoke stacks. If you were standing at the base of those tall stacks, your walking shoes would be a few feet from Lake Erie.

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Turn your back to Lake Erie and with your feet pointed (more or less) southeast, walk past the Rural Road picnic shelter and playground. The river will be on your right as you follow the trail.

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Scenery along the trail
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I spotted this red-bellied woodpecker.
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Glimpse of the river along the trail
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The Chagrin viewed from the pedestrian bridge

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Eventually, after huffing and puffing up and down a few hills, you will find yourself standing at the base of the sledding hill. Climb the stairs to the top, sit down on one of the benches, and look back down the trail that brought you to this point.

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That’s all for today. Thanks for visiting.
Stop by soon, and we’ll see what else we can find along the trail
Trail Walker

Color Me Autumn (week one)

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Color Me Autumn!

Suddenly, it is beginning to look like Autumn. Time to break out my “Color Me Autumn” tag and get out for some Autumn trail walks…My favorite season!

As soon as my dentist appointment ended this morning (Perfect report from the hygienist), I headed for the Arboretum. I don’t have time to write more tonight, but here are a few  pictures from today’s trail walk to show that Autumn colors are beginning to appear despite the predominately green leaves.

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The birch tree leaves are changing color.
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Another look at the birch trees
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The evergreen is still green, but the ground beneath it looks like Autumn.
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Trees in Blueberry Pond
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Berries
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Happy Halloween
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My favorite tree-the golden willow

The leaves on the golden willow tree will eventually turn yellow, but the transition is slow. Look around the tree, however, and you will see more Autumn colors.

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Although the sugar maple is still mostly green, I can  tell Autumn is here.

Are you seeing Autumn in your neighborhood or are you saying goodbye to winter? Whichever season you are leaving (or entering), as you walk along the trail with your camera, you are sure to find something beautiful to photograph. Go on out and enjoy it whenever you can. That’s what I’m planning to do.

See you soon
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

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