I’m a sheepdog…an English sheepdog. An 80 pound girl sheepdog!!! Caring for sheep is a really big responsibility! The sheep have to depend on me. Will anyone think I look dependable and responsible in this hat? Could someone please explain this to my master? I will be eternally grateful! Oh right, I almost forgot…My name is Mabel! You can read more about me in the blog post Trail Walker wrote yesterday.
Earlier this week, I lifted my eyes from the keyboard and glanced out the window next to my computer. It was already late afternoon on what had started out as a gloomy overcast day. To my delight, outside my window the sun was shining! I immediately went into action. Leaping out of my chair and grabbing my camera, I invited Bob to leave his desk and head to Holden Arboretum with me for an impromptu trail walk.
Two weeks earlier, I had visited the Arboretum, hoping to find the sugar maple tree crowned in glorious autumn color…not an unreasonable expectation in the middle of October. Normally we would have nearly reached peak color here on the south shore of Lake Erie by that time, but that afternoon, to my disappointment, the tree still looked much like it had in mid-summer: beautiful, but almost entirely green.
Today, with the late afternoon sun shining and puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky, I almost held my breath as I hurried down the trail to where I could catch sight of the tree. My expectations weren’t high because the end of October is well past the time for peak color in northeast Ohio, and in a normal year, the maple would have lost most of its color and many of its leaves by the first of November (the day I am writing this post).
Then I rounded the curve in the trail and saw the maple.
My heart burst with joy.
I hadn’t missed its peak color after all!
Three more for today from my Color Me Autumn trail walks (Click to enlarge pictures)
Autumn red near Lotus Pond
View from under the sugar maple
Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
I’ll be back soon to share more Autumn joy.
When I came downstairs for breakfast this morning, I was amazed to see a beautiful blue sky outside my window. Knowing that a blue sky in the morning can become a dull, overcast sky by noon, I hurried through breakfast and made it to the park with time to spare. First stop was the owl tree to see if Momma Owl was awake.
She was, as usual when I come to visit, sound asleep. Maybe she was up all night hunting for breakfast? That’s one theory, but I haven’t actually seen any owlets yet, although another photographer reported a sighting last week. I have a lot to do today, so I didn’t linger at the base of the tree to see if anything would happen. I shot off a few frames and headed back down the trail to see what else I could find.
Nothing much was happening at the split rail fence, so I walked a little farther down the trail toward the river, and bonanza! I encountered a bluebird, and she was happy to pose for the camera.
We have been hoping that a pair of bluebirds will move into one of our nesting boxes, but so far none of the blue beauties have shown more than a passing interest in either box. Although I am becoming a little discouraged, I haven’t given up hope yet. Spring isn’t even in full bloom. Maybe we need to hire a real estate agent to post ads about the wonderful homes that are available in the neighborhood. Do you think that would work? I wonder how classified ads would work in the birding community? Or would glossy, full page ones look better?
Here are several more pictures taken by the split-rail fence earlier in the week before the rain moved in.
And finally, before I close down for the afternoon, here’s a red-bellied woodpecker who showed up for this morning’s walk in Chagrin River Park.
That’s all, folks. I’m running out of blogging time. Thanks for joining me for today’s trail walk. I really appreciate your company and your comments.
It’s not that I have forgotten to take pictures lately, but trail walking (and blogging) have taken a back seat to other responsibilities and the mundane routines of daily life…and the weather has not been friendly to photo walking. Temperatures way below freezing and icy trails have kept me closer to home than usual. Consequently, I haven’t had much to post on my photo blog. Today, finally, the weather was good: cold, crisp, and more or less dry, and I decided to take a walk…as soon as I finished some necessary desk work.
Unfortunately, by the time I finished the work and glanced at the clock, I discovered it was already five pm. Sunset was imminent. “Better hurry,” I told myself, as I grabbed my camera and car keys, and headed to Chagrin River Park to meet Bob. In the little time left before complete dark, I captured a few pictures of the river and, passing by the fire pit, another one of a pair of bike riders warming up by the fire.
But finally it was too dark to see where we were walking, so we turned down the trail that led to the car park. That’s when I spotted the moon playing peek-a-boo behind the clouds, and I captured one final photo to take home.
It had turned out to be a short trail walk, but we did get a little exercise, and I’m happy with the results. I hope you enjoyed the photos.
I hope to have more to show you soon!
Regular walks in the Arboretum, easily my favorite place for trail walking, have been missing from my schedule this summer. Bob has made a great recovery from his heart attack and quadruple bypass. He has continued regular walks in our neighborhood park, as well as the shorter evening walks we take with Gulliver around our street. Now he has begun attending cardiac rehab three times a week. But, until this week, I have had neither time nor energy for long walks. Can’t tell you how great it felt to walk, talk, and “bag lunch” on the patio at Holden overlooking the gardens with my friend Lisa. Here are a few pictures I snapped along the trail.
Thanks for stopping by today so I could share a little beauty with you. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
In my last post, two days ago, I promised to return with more pictures from the trail walk Lisa and I took in the Arboretum on Friday. Yesterday was so full, I didn’t have time to keep that promise. The weekend flew by, as they usually do, and Monday morning has arrived already, and, finally, here are my favorite pictures from that stroll along the trails in the Arboretum. Because I have a weakness for alliteration, I am taking the liberty of titling this post for the day I am posting it.
The long months of winter, from November until well into April, are almost devoid of color, making this trail walk, with so many richly-hued blossoms, a joy to share. Thanks for joining us on this walk. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as Lisa and I did. If you didn’t see the mini-meander I posted on Saturday, check it out to see three more pictures from along the trail (including my favorite golden willow tree).
I was standing next to the trail, watching a house wren “feathering her nest,” when I spotted two birds on a branch high over my head. I couldn’t see them clearly with my naked eye, so you can imagine my surprise when I downloaded them to my computer after I got home.
Talk about serendipity! I couldn’t believe my luck in capturing these two beautiful birds…together! The house wren pictures came out pretty good also, but I will post them another day. Today belongs to the flickers. Hope you like them. For you bird lovers, a group of flickers are collectively known as a “guttering”, “menorah”, and “Peterson” of flickers. Who knew? I definitely didn’t, but now you do!
Thanks for joining me along the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
It was a great day for a bird walk, with lots of little birds posing for their portraits. I even captured a couple I had to look up. How many of these birds can you name? All of them are common in northeast Ohio and surrounding states, and some even live here year round. One is the state bird of Ohio (and several other states). Do you have a favorite? If so, be sure to leave a comment to let us know which one it is.
Song sparrow (although maybe not)
The bluejay taking off
The towhee again
The red-bellied woodpecker chatting with a white-throated sparrow
Thanks for walking the trail today. How many did you identify?
Rain and thunder through the night and into the morning hours convinced me that this would not be a good day for another trail walk. Instead I will continue with part 2 of yesterday’s post: Searching for Spring in the Arboretum. I ended that post when we reached the entrance to the Rhododendron Garden, so I will pick up there and return via the Blueberry Pond trail to the Corning Visitor Center, where we parked the car.
We won’t take time to visit the Rhododendron Garden on this walk because its most important features, the Canopy Walk, Emergent Tower, and the rhododendrons themselves, aren’t on display this early in spring. The Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower open for the season on April 1, and it will be June before the rhododendrons and azaleas burst into glorious full bloom. We will need to be patient and return on future trail walks to see them.
But there is still more to see from yesterday’s walk, so we will follow the sign post and wend our way back to our starting point at the Corning Visitors Center.
Imagine you are sitting beside me on a bench where I paused to soak up a little solitude (and take a welcome rest). Gaze into the distance, and you might notice, on either side of the trail, small green leaves just beginning to unfurl on the trees. That’s a welcome sign of spring that wasn’t visible a couple of weeks ago. Another early sign of spring here in northeast Ohio is the sound of the spring peepers.
Because we’ve had a lot of rain recently, the vernal pools along the trail are filled with these tiny frogs in full voice. Even in full daylight I have been treated to their song as I walk along the trail.
As we reach the end of the woodland trail, we can see the entrance to the wildflower garden (another future blog post). Up the hill to our right is Lotus Pond, but right now we will take the trail to the left, skirt the edge of Blueberry Pond, pass the white birch trees on the left side of the trail, and stop for a good look at the pond.
A feature I find fascinating near Blueberry Pond is these bald cypress trees perched right at the edge of the water.
From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) website…
The Baldcypress is “native to wet areas of the lower and middle Mississippi Valley drainage basin, the south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal states, and especially Florida of the south coastal states,” but it has been planted extensively in other areas, including Ohio.
“As a deciduous conifer, the leaves of Baldcypress drop off in autumn, and its cones are round balls that release their seeds in autumn and winter. Trees in Ohio may reach 80 feet tall by 30 feet wide when found in the open. As a member of the Baldcypress Family, it is also related to Dawn Redwood and Giant Redwood.
Not far from the Baldcypress trees, stands this tall, majestic Dawn Redwood, another deciduous conifer mentioned on the ODNR site,
Dawn Redwood tree, Holden Arboretum, August 2014
Whoops! Sorry! I’m a little bit off the trail here…actually more than three years off. Because I didn’t stop to take a photo of the Dawn Redwood on this visit to the Arboretum, I decided to dig into my archives and find one to include in this post…a detour relevant to the topic of today’s walk, although definitely off the trail.
Back to the trail…
From Blueberry Pond, it’s only a short walk down the hill to reach this footbridge that will lead us to the stairs and back up to the parking lot. The sign points back toward Woodland Trail, which is the trail we followed until we reached the Blueberry Pond trail. Now we are going to leave the Blueberry Pond trail, cross the little footbridge, and climb the stairs leading to the parking lot.
It’s time to go home! I hope you have enjoyed this trail walk.
Thanks for coming along! ~Trail Walker