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

Morning Surprises!

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You can see from the pictures above that “someone” flipped open the hopper feeder, helped him or herself to all the birdseed inside, and left behind a puzzled and confused squirrel. The first time this happened, I was surprised, but now it happens almost daily. I’m actually surprised when it doesn’t happen. If I looked out the kitchen window in the morning to see birds feasting on the seed I had poured into the feeder yesterday afternoon, that would be the surprise.  At first, I blamed the deer herd that makes nightly excursions up the hill from Chagrin River Park. I assumed they were the four legged marauders that had raided the Back Yard Buffet, but I’ve changed my mind about the likely culprits. It must be raccoons! Our thief can even twist open the plastic twist-ties that I use to secure the latch of the suet feeder. What other animal has the dexterity to lift the awkward, heavy lid of the hopper feeder and untwist the plastic ties and carry off the suet? What really surprised me this morning was seeing the squirrel standing inside the feeder. I know he’s not the thief because he and other members of his clan feast at the buffet all day long. They aren’t out and about after dark, and this morning he seemed to be perplexed that all the food was gone. He’s not happy and neither am I. I’m fighting a losing battle. The birds (and squirrels) are the real losers…and my bird-feeding budget of course!

The second surprise that appeared in the back yard buffet this morning was a welcome one. Flickers are rare visitors. I see them in the park occasionally but never right outside the kitchen window. This one found his (or her) breakfast on the ground underneath the hopper feeder, and was a very happy bird.  I was happy too because I thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected photoshoot! (Click on any picture to enlarge them.)

Thanks for stopping by the back yard buffet this morning.
See you soon!

~Trail Walker

Lazy (and wet) Sunday afternoon

The temperature was hovering around zero with freezing rain tapping on the window pane, so backyard birding seemed like a better idea than trudging down the trail in the park. Call me a wimp, if you want,  but I’m happiest indoors in weather like this.

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Trio of bluejays

The bluejays don’t seem to mind much as long as the rain isn’t pelting down, but I do mind, so I decided to do a little backyard birding from inside my kitchen window today.

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In most tree-shaded backyards, birding usually includes squirrels, and my yard is no different.  This squirrel is sheltering under the bird feeder, and he looks pretty happy about having the food all to himself.

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Most days I prefer birding along the trail in the park, but today I am thankful to capture my birds through the window. I hope you enjoyed the view.

Thanks for joining me. Let’s hope for sunny weather soon.
I’m not a trailwalker today!

 

A determined squirrel!

As I watched through the kitchen window on a recent winter morning, this little squirrel appeared on the scene:

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She discovered a big cake of bird seed on the ground, apparently knocked down by one of the deer that make regular overnight visits to our back yard bird buffet. Being a curious little squirrel…

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…and apparently a hungry one, she began to investigate the seed block from all angles to see if there was a way she could get at the goodies inside the wire cage. It was no small challenge for a young squirrel, but she had something going for her: determination.

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Climbing on top of the wire cage to survey the situation, she began her battle with the wire cage by putting her teeth to work. Unfortunately, although she has sharp little teeth, she still couldn’t reach the seed cake and she couldn’t bite through the wire. Hmmmm…what could she do next?

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She took a little break and thought through the situation. Realizing that she couldn’t reach the good stuff inside the cage while sitting on top of it, she jumped to the ground and renewed the attack from a different angle. Working with her teeth and paws together, she discovered that she could actually lift the cage and shove it around. Her spirits lifted, she carried on.  For an hour or more, she persevered, circling the cage, lifting it up, flipping it over, and pushing it around. I was beginning to admire her persistence and even considered going outside to lend a hand, when finally the lid to the cage popped open and she had access! NOW she could nibble on the end of the seed cake, but there wasn’t enough room for her to squeeze into the cage and enjoy a full meal. She knew she had to somehow get the cake out of the cage. So she rejoined the battle! More circling, flipping, and pushing ensued, and now the teeth and paws really got a workout. Here are some closeups of the action:

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Eventually I ran out of time for documenting the action, but I’m here to report that by the end of the afternoon  the seed cake had been devoured. Determination and perseverance had paid off, and a  small squirrel had won the day! This morning the empty cage lay on the ground with a small squirrel standing nearby, probably wondering how long it was going to be before I put a new seed cake in the cage.

The End!

Skip aka  Carolyn

Inside looking out!

I love walking and don’t usually mind cold weather; however, for the past week, I have felt absolutely no inclination to hit the trail. Cold and snow, followed by rain, sleet, and slush, and then  a slippery slide to more low temps and frozen trails have dampened my enthusiasm. Even tottering out to refill the bird feeders has been a major challenge. We saw one sunny day this week, but because of other commitments that day, I didn’t have time for a walk in the park. As a result, most of my pictures have been taken through the kitchen window. Squirrels, birds, and deer have visited the back yard buffet, but not in great numbers. Maybe they have decided to hibernate, and, truthfully, I really think they might have a good idea! However, I still take pictures every day, so just to prove that my camera is still getting a workout even if I’m not, here are a few back yard visitors and one surprise…

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and for a change of pace,

here is a rose, rich in color, and speaking very hopefully of summer.

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Unfortunately, here on the south shore of Lake Erie,

we are still weeks away from even a faint hint of spring.

The rose, an early birthday gift from a friend, was a real spirit-lifter.

Carolyn aka Skip

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