Birding on New Year’s Day

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Not a bird!

I spotted this pretty doe standing in the meadow on the other side of the split-rail fence. When she walked in my direction, I decided she should be the featured image for my New Year’s Day post, even if she isn’t a bird. So here she is!

Now on to a few birds. Because the morning was cold and overcast without even a glimmer of sunshine, some of my images came out blurry (Reminder to me to pay closer attention to my camera settings); however, a large and varied flock of little birds were flitting around near some fallen trees, probably because someone (not this someone, but possibly another photographer better prepared than I) had sprinkled a few bird seeds on the ground to celebrate the holiday!

After a while, my frozen fingers and toes (and my growling tummy) signaled that it was time for lunch, so I reconnoitered with my walking buddies, and we trekked along the trail back to the parking lot and headed home.

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Bob and Mabel

Today’s walk reminded me again that any day is a good day for a trail walk, even when the sun doesn’t shine. Thanks for walking along with us today. See you soon.

Sunshine or clouds, I’ll see you along the trail.
Trail Walker

 

Darn spring cleaning!

Sometime things around the house require my attention. I try not to let that happen too often, but when it does, and I begin to trip over the dust bunnies, something has to be done about them. That has happened to me recently. Consequently, I haven’t been out on the trail with my camera very often. Sad, but true! However, I have managed a few trail walks recently and some backyard birding, so I finally have something to post on my blog. Today. I’m sharing a few shots taken through my kitchen window. Let me know what you think.

To my delight, the bluebirds have been in and out of the nesting box multiple times per day. They make me smile on a regular basis! The blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers are also faithful visitor to the seed cylinders and suet.

And then, on occasion, the pileated woodpeckers will swoop in for a meal.
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The last picture made me hold my breath until I actually got the shot. Never before has one of the big ones landed that low in the yard, and I was afraid she would fly away before I grabbed a shot or two. My hubby had planted some colorful flowers in a plastic tray on top of one of the stumps just outside the kitchen window, and they apparently attracted her eye. Since this visitor doesn’t have a red mustache to match the red crest, I’m pretty sure it’s the female. Both the male and female are nesting somewhere in our neighborhood. It’s exciting to have both stop in at the same time.

That’s all I have time for today. Thanks for visiting.
Come back soon!
~Trail Walker

Weather report

Although the calendar indicates that we should be enjoying Spring, Mother Nature has refused to cooperate. In the weeks since the reportedly “gentler season” officially began on March 21, we have experienced mostly cold and/or very damp weather…the kind of weather that does not draw me out for trail walking with my camera. As a result, even though the birds have been out and about, this trail walker hasn’t been!  Consequently, three weeks into the month, I have a very meagre collection of April images to share; however, here are a few birds that agreed to pose in the middle of their daily activities:

After momma great horned owl, pictured above, another regular to show up was my favorite, the red-bellied woodpecker:

 

 

Following Mr. Redbelly, is another woodpecker, the little downy, but he didn’t pose for long, and, as light was leaking out of the afternoon sky,  I only captured one image of him.

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Other regulars willing to pose, despite the cold, were the perennial popular cardinals and blue jays:

 

 

Last, but of course, not least, even though they are the smallest, is the black-capped chickadee.

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Believe it or not, he had just walked through that arch on the fence post.
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And came out with a large piece of peanut.

Daylight was vanishing, so I decided to close up my camera and head home for supper. On this chilly April afternoon, I was glad to be leaving the park with a few pictures captured on my memory card. Hopefully, the weather will improve soon, and I will have more pictures to share.

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.

Here’s hoping our weather (and other things) soon improve!
Feel free to leave comments. I love to chat with you.
Trail Walker

Taking Mabel on the trail

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Bob was taking Mabel for a walk in the park, so, even though it was late afternoon, I tagged along. Mabel, our daughter and son-in-law’s dog, is temporarily our house guest. They sold their home and are planning to relocate as soon as they find the right house or property. Meanwhile, we are back to having a dog in the house, and a very large dog at that! She has adapted well to her temporary home, and we have adapted to having her around. Mabel’s a good girl, and we are enjoying her company. Bob is supposed to take daily walks, and having Mabel as a walking partner is a good incentive. Although the arrangement is only intended to last until they move into their new home, we have reminded Alison that our buddy Gulliver, who was once their puppy, came to stay with us temporarily many years ago and never left. He was our buddy for 15 years, until he died last September.

Today, while Bob and Mabel walked the stairs at the sledding hill, I took a short trail walk and photographed some birds. The red-bellied woodpeckers were plentiful:

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…and a titmouse  and cardinal also stopped by, hoping for a peanut.

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I couldn’t forget to visit the owl tree, and this time I caught Momma Owl with her eyes open, Today she was just as sedentary as the last two times I stopped for a photo opp. Being a momma owl, responsible for sitting on the nest  hour after hour, must be very tiresome.

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That’s it for today’s blog post. See you in a few days.

Thanks for taking a look!
Trail Walker

Ongoing saga of the backyard buffet

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It’s clear to the eye that this is another rainy morning, but nevertheless, the birds arrived for breakfast as usual. The redbellied woodpecker, shown in the picture above, wasn’t happy to discover that the hopper feeder had been totally emptied overnight. She is not sure how this happens and neither are we, although we are beginning to suspect collusion between deer and raccoons. To my dismay, the deer wander the neighborhood at night, although sometimes they don’t wait until nightfall. Anytime will do for them. They come up the hill out of the park, cross one street, and walk down another street into our neighborhood. They know exactly where the softies live who put out food for the birds, and that becomes their next meal, of course. This has been their routine forever. So I don’t put out as much food, only enough for the birds to eat during the day, leaving only a few leftovers for the marauding deer. That left the bird buffet pretty much unscathed until I purchased a hanging fuschia plant because someone said hummingbirds love them. It’s true; they do, but so do the deer. Unfortunately!

Then one morning, I looked out the window at the bird buffet and noticed that the lid to the hopper feeder was wide open. The pileated woodpecker was sitting on top of it, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. The open and empty  feeder is what caught my eye. Some greedy varmint had lifted the lid, flipped it back, and eaten all the bird seed. All of it! The deer didn’t do that! We must have raccoons roaming the neighborhood under cover of darkness. That’s when I began to think we are fighting a losing battle here. Squirrels and deer any time of the day and raccoons at night. This may be a lost cause!

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However, as I continue to wage my war with the unwelcome wildlife, there are still the bluebirds to enjoy. A few days ago, Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird got up the gumption to enter the new bird house, and apparently they liked it.

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I’m not sure, but I think they may put in a bid on the property. I hope they do because I would be happy to have them as neighbors.

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

Woodpecker morning

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A quick look out the kitchen window this morning reassured me that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are still around. Both were sitting on the new bluebird nesting box I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post. They didn’t stay long enough for a photo opp, but I was very happy to see them. Next the pileated woodpecker announced his arrival. He was alone. His mate didn’t put in an appearance, but several other woodpeckers did. Take a look:

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A starling shared the hopper feeder with the pileated.
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Pretty soon a red-bellied woodpecker flew in.
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For a while, the red-bellied and the pileated dined on opposite ends of the hopper feeder.
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Just look at the difference in the size of these two woodpeckers!
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And finally a downy came for his breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Downy are constant guests at the Backyard Buffet.

Breakfast time ended when the pileated woodpecker flew over to the trunk of the huge oak tree on the edge of our property. I took this picture so you could see how high up he was. We think he may be nesting in that hole because he lands there often, and Bob actually saw him fly in to it a few weeks ago. Baby pileated woodpeckers??? Wouldn’t that be a treat!
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See you soon. Thanks for visiting today.
Trail Walker

A Monday Meander

Hello friends.
Join me for a morning meander along the trail.
We’ll visit a few of our bird friends to see what they are up to.
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The blue jay is hoping for some peanuts.
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The house wren is feathering her new nesting hole…
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And checking it out to see if the fit is good.
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The red-bellied woodpecker is also visiting his new nest.
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Checking both inside and out to see if it is ready for a family.
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The Great Horned Owl is not on her nest, but one of the owlets is testing his wings. He must be getting ready to fledge.

That’s all the news from the trail on this Monday morning. I didn’t see the belted kingfisher or the towhee, and I’m still waiting for my first glimpse of a Baltimore oriole. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

 

I never would have seen…

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Peek-a-boo! I see you, but you don’t see me!

I really wouldn’t have noticed the little red-bellied woodpecker peering out from its nesting hole, but another, sharper-eyed photographer had located the nesting hole high up in a tree in the middle of the bog. He pointed it out as we walked past the tree a few days ago. So I have Randy to thank for this set of pictures, and I am delighted to give him credit for his generosity in pointing it out so I could take these shots.

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Peering back into the nesting hole
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I zoomed in closer for a better look.
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I’m not sure this is the same bird. Could it be a female?

I’m not absolutely certain if there is one bird or two, so today I returned for another look, but nobody was home. I guess I will just have to keep checking out the nest on future trail walks.

To be updated if there is more to share.
See you soon with more tales from the trail! ~Trail Walker

Introducing my newly refurbished website and two new Fabulous Faces

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If you follow my blog, you probably remember that I especially enjoy taking pictures of people and dogs when I meet them on my trail walks. I met Cindy and Lynn, two fabulous and friendly trail walkers, in Chagrin River Park this morning, and after a brief conversation, I asked if I could take their picture for my Fabulous Faces gallery. You can read about it here and see the many faces, human and canine,  I have photographed over my years of walking along the trail. Meeting Cindy and Lynn was truly the highlight of my walk today.

About my website and blog

I have a website, hosted on the SmugMug platform and a blog, hosted by WordPress. Both are named Seen Along the Trail because they are based on my frequent trail walks and the photos I take along the trail.The website and blog work in tandem. I take my camera with me on my trail walks and capture pictures of things I see along the trail.Then I bring them home, remove them from my camera to my computer, and upload them to my website where they stay until I am ready to write a post for my blog. Four or five times a week, I choose the photos I want to write about, write the post, and share it on the blog. (An analogy for this is the process you follow when you prepare a meal to share with your family or friends. You go to the store, buy good food, bring it home and store it in your refrigerator. Then a few days later, you take it out of the refrigerator, process it (i.e. prepare the meal) and serve it to your guests).

Refurbishing my website

For the past month I have been hard at work reorganizing my galleries and refurbishing my website to give it a fresh look and a design that is easy for visitors to navigate. I drew up the design, chose the picture galleries I want to share, and wrote the text. Then I began to build the site. Some parts of that process were easy, but sometimes I couldn’t make the pictures and text display on the screen the way I wanted them to. When that happened I called my granddaughter. Carrie is a web-developer with a company in Memphis, and she was a huge help to me. Just for example: One big problem I couldn’t resolve was how to get the images of the four seasons  to display in a row on the home page. Nothing I tried worked, so I told Carrie what I wanted to do, and she wrote the code that made it happen. Now they are lined up just as I pictured them. So with Carrie’s help on the technology end, and advice on layout from my daughter Becky,  the site was finally finished last night. Carrie and I gave each other a virtual high-five, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The website is “live.” You can visit it here, and I hope you will return for frequent walks down the trail with me on both my website and my blog.

How’s the experience from your perspective?

If you have any questions or comments for me, including about how the site looks on the device you are using to view it (desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone), just send an email my way. The contact form is in the menu at the top of the website’s home page.

Finally, a few pictures from today’s trail walk

Thanks for joining me for today’s trail walk.
I would welcome feedback on the website from your perspective.
See you soon! ~Trail Walker

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