Evening in the park

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This little herd of deer was standing near the split rail fence, one of my favorite bird watching locations, when I went to the park with my camera on Sunday evening. They were more interested in browsing than curious about what I was doing, so I decided to take their picture before I headed out for a little bird photography.

The light was getting low, but the birds were still active, and this time I had remembered to bring a handful of peanuts to reward them. There were cardinals, both male and female, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and more. Here is the woodpecker gallery:


The male cardinals were wearing brilliant  red coats this evening. Maybe the light had something to do with making them look especially beautiful. The female cardinal, sitting by herself in the branches of a nearby tree, chose not to pose with the redcoats

Then there were two downy woodpeckers:
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And a greedy nuthatch…
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And finally one of my favorites, the red-bellied woodpecker, put in an appearance. She was being somewhat elusive this evening. She swooped past, but didn’t stay for long, and I missed my chance to get her picture. This happened several times. Every time she came close, I was too late with the camera. To say the least, I wasn’t on the top of my game, but finally I was ready, and here is the result:

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It’s a good thing too because the sun was getting low and I was getting cold. I was happy to call it a night. Thanks for coming out on this chilly evening.

I’ll 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 pileated surprise!

We had just finished Sunday evening supper when our daughter glanced out the dining room window and exclaimed, “What the heck is that?”  When I turned to look out the window, this is what I saw…

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He had flown down from the tree top without announcing his arrival, as he usually does, and there he sat on top of the bird feeder no more than four feet from our window. Obviously he had found a comfortable place to feast on the bark butter suet, and he was really pleased.

Jumping up from the table, I moved over to the kitchen window where I picked up my camera. Earlier I had cranked the window open about an inch, so I was able to wind it fully open without alarming our “guest.” He was completely engrossed in the suet cake and unaware of my presence, so I was able to capture many pictures. These are the best…

I’m betting he’ll be back, just as long as I keep the suet feeder filled with cakes of bark butter suet. He had his Sunday evening treat, and I had some real good closeups to share on my blog. It was a memorable moment!

See you soon!
Trail Walker

One more week to go

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For the past three weeks I’ve been on a self-imposed break from my regular trail walks so I can take an online course in photoshop for photographers. As a result, I haven’t had much news to report from along the trail. Photoshop doesn’t come easily to me, but it is a lot of fun, and hopefully will lead to improvements in my blog posts. Only one more week to go in the course, then I plan to resume posting  Along the Trail three times each week on Tuesday Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday. Although sticking to a regular schedule for posting, doesn’t come easily to me either 😋, I believe it is the best approach to take, and I hope you will return to see my posts on those days.

As you have probably noticed, I am always interested in the behavior of birds. Today I want to share something I observed yesterday when one of the red-bellied woodpeckers (RBW) visited our yard. Between our property and the neighbors behind us are 12 very tall trees where the birds love to nest, rest, hide, and perch. The picture at the top of this post shows an RBW investigating a hole high up on the trunk of one of the trees. She was very curious about the hole, maybe checking out its potential for a future nest. I’m not sure what she expected to see, but she gave it a good look. Click on the gallery below to see her in action:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they nested in our tree, and we could watch their little family?

That’s it for today. Starting next week, I will resume regular posts and visits to your blogs. To those who have continued to visit and leave comments during my break: thank you for your patience.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

A surprise visitor at the back yard buffet

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In the past week the pileated woodpecker has made several visits to our back yard buffet. I heard her announce her arrival early this evening when I was cleaning up the kitchen, so I took my camera and sat on the patio after supper. It wasn’t long before she flew in. First she swung by the new suet feeder, but didn’t hang around long enough to take a taste of the bark butter suet. However, she soon returned and this time grabbed on to the large suet holder Bob hung from a post way back under the trees, and, finally, as I sat on the patio bench, she returned to the new feeder, the one that was closest to me. I snapped away as she feasted on the bark butter. She was happy, and so was I. Here’s hoping she likes it enough to return often. I think there may be a male in the neighborhood too because last week two pileateds arrived together. At the time, I didn’t have my camera, so I missed the photo opp. Today I didn’t make that mistake! Here are a few more pictures of today’s visitor:

Interesting facts about this big bird:

  • Male and female pileated look very much alike, but the male has a red mustache.
  • They nest in cavities in trees that they excavate. The noise they make while digging these holes can be heard for quite a distance.
  • They will make up to 16 holes in each tree to allow escape routes in case a predator enters the tree, and they peck the bark around the entrance holes to make the sap run. That keeps some predators, such as snakes, from entering their nest.
  • Their favorite food is carpenter ants, and the young are fed regurgitated insects.
  • A group of pileated woodpeckers are collectively known as a “crown” of woodpeckers.
  • Sometimes people call them “Woody Woodpecker” after the cartoon, which definitely resembles a pileated woodpecker.

That’s enough for this post. I hope you enjoyed seeing the big bird.

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

 

Red-bellied surprise!

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Red-bellied woodpecker times two!

The red-bellied woodpecker is one of my favorite birds, which makes this photo doubly pleasing to me. Seeing a RBW is not uncommon in our neighborhood park where there are lots of old trees and a bog nearby; however, until today I had never seen two of them sitting on the same tree stump. I am guessing that the one in the foreground is a female because it has a grey cap, but I am not certain. At any rate, this was a red-bellied day! Here are a few other birds from today’s walk. Click on any picture to see it in large.

No doubt about it…

Spring has arrived! I wouldn’t be silly enough to believe we won’t have any more cold, wet weather, but I’ve seen the signs, and I am announcing the arrival of spring! Today, on my walk in the park, I spotted a golden-crowned kinglet and a yellow-bellied sapsucker for the first time, and there were lots of people enjoying some sunshine and warmer temperatures. Yay for spring! We’ve waited a long time for it to arrive. Here are my favorite pictures from today:

Hope you enjoyed them!
Carolyn aka Skip

Is it spring yet?

That’s the question everyone is asking these days. Even today, although it seemed a little milder and I didn’t wear my winter jacket for our trip to the Cleveland Aquarium, the temperature barely inched above 40 degrees. In the afternoon I took a photowalk in the park. For that I wore my winter jacket and hat, and I wasn’t any too warm. Here are my favorite photos from the walk. I hope you like them.

Carolyn aka Skip

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Birding with a camera

Most birdwatchers, or twitchers, as they are called in Britain, carry binoculars. I carry my camera. You can probably guess that I am not a serious birder with a long life-list and a longer list of exotic locations I’ve visited in the pursuit of elusive species. I have high regard (envy?) for the experts who can identify a bird by all its varied calls and songs or a glimpse of it on the wing. I appreciate the helpful ones who will say to me, “There’s a ______, in that tree, the one at two-o’clock in the direction you are facing.” I am not that kind of birder. I don’t have the eye or the knowledge, but I admire people who do. What a wonderful hobby it is! Solitary and, at the same time, social, because the birders I’ve met are always willing to share their discoveries with the rest of us.

I do my birding with a camera. I love to capture pictures of chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, or whatever else presents itself, and I am rewarded by observing their behaviors, both social and antisocial. An hour or two with my camera in the park, wandering along the trails, usually alone, but sometimes in the company of others, feeds my soul. It is time that restores and energizes me. I believe that the Creator intends for us to get out and enjoy His (Her) creation, and for that I am ever thankful. Here are a few of my recent “captures.” I hope you enjoy them.

PS I wrote a “story” about my (failed) attempt to photograph an elusive pileated woodpecker today. You can read about it in my Blipfoto journal.

Carolyn aka Skip

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