The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Birds’

Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Beaver Marsh

We vacationed the week of April 20 through April 27 in Ohio. Late morning on Tuesday, April 25th, we drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We made three stops in the park.  

Our first stop was at the Beaver Marsh.  We parked at the Ira Trailhead and followed the short connecting path to the Towpath Trail and turned left. We headed north for 0.25 miles to reach the boardwalk. We saw Canada Geese, turtles, red-wing blackbirds, tree swallows and grackles.  There was excitement at the marsh, owing to the fact that Canada Geese are territorial.

Squirrel in a Tree
Sunbathing Turtle
Tree Swallows

Territorial Canada Geese entertained us, while at the Beaver Marsh.

Two Canada Geese
One Goose Appears Dominant.
Three Territorial Canada Geese
Canada Geese Chase
Three Canada Geese
One Goose Chasing Another
Four Territorial Canada Geese

My next blog post will be about our last two stops in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

South Carolina Vacation: The Marshwalk

On Friday, March 3, after we had packed up the car, we went to breakfast at a nearby Eggs Up Grill.  Bob ordered steak and eggs with a fruit cup and garlic toast.  I ordered a Red, White and Blue Waffle with bacon.  My waffle came with strawberries, bananas and blueberries with whipped topping.  Breakfast was delicious.

After breakfast we drove to Murrells Inlet and walked the MarshWalk.  I photographed several feathered friends.

A cormorant
A cormorant sitting pretty
A cormorant drying its wings
Pelican Sitting Pretty
Pelican in Flight
An American Oystercatcher

From Murrells Inlet we drove to One Ocean Place in Garden City Beach.  We are staying two nights with our friends Marge and Neil in their oceanfront condo on the 10th floor.  We spent the remainder of the morning and afternoon conversing amongst ourselves, reading, napping and, in general, just enjoying each others’ company. Bob and Neil also played music together for a little while.

Bob and Neil at One Ocean Place on balcony of 10th floor condo

We also went for a walk on the beach.

Bob, Marge and Neil on the beach
Marge and I on the beach

We walked to The Conch Cafe for dinner.  Marge and I ordered open-faced tuna salad melts.  I had a cup of seafood chowder with my tuna salad.  Bob ordered a crab cake sandwich.  Neil ordered a grilled mahi sandwich.

In the evening we watched a movie on Netflix starring Meryl Streep called “The Laundromat”.  The movie is based on a real-life story about insurance fraud.

Audubon Community Nature Center Visit

Bob and I drove to our local Audubon Center, located in Jamestown NY, yesterday afternoon. We walked a little more than 2 miles. I surprised Bob when I chose to walk as far as we did. I surprised myself too!

If you click here, you will find a map of the trails at the Audubon Center. We began our walk on the blue Overlook Trail.

We saw a Canada Goose, shortly after beginning our walk on the Overlook Trail.
We stopped at the Blue Heron Overlook that overlooks Big Pond.
We saw two Red-Winged Blackbirds from the Blue Heron Overlook.
We saw a Canada goose from the Blue Heron Overlook. We think the goose was sitting on a nest.

Leaving the Blue Heron Overlook we took a connecting trail to the yellow Big Pond Trail.

Along the connecting trail we saw a Pine Warbler.
We saw a Green Heron, too, while on the connecting trail.
We saw one more warbler, while on the connecting trail. This is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

We took the yellow Big Pond Trail alongside the Bluebird Field.

We saw a Northern Flicker, while walking alongside the Bluebird Field.
We also saw a Tree Swallow, while walking alongside the Bluebird Field.

What we didn’t see that I had hoped to see was a bluebird in the Bluebird Field.

We took a break here, with this beautiful view of Big Pond.
We were about opposite the Blue Heron Overlook at this point.
This is the Rosanne Stark Memorial Swing, located along the Big Pond Trail.
A nearby plaque stated that “Rosanne Stark volunteered at Audubon Community Nature Center for many years. She initiated several projects here including a native plant garden. She was especially fond of crows and enjoyed feeding and observing their activities from her Ashville home.
Rose was also a passionate teacher. She was instrumental in inviting Audubon’s Naturlists into classrooms at Chautauqua Lake School, where she was fondly knows as “The Frog Lady”. Rose loved history. Her dedication, humor, and creativity captivated students and brought historical characters and scenarios to life.
Rose’s warmth and enthusiasm endeared her to family and friends. She will always be remembered as a creatively thoughtful person who made friends easily.
She loved to laugh. She loved to learn.”
Near the swing was a tree with a large hole.
Bob took a picture of me and the tree.
I took a close-up picture of the tree bottom.

Soon we came to a bridge.

We were still on Big Pond Trail, when we crossed over Hemlock Bridge.

Soon after crossing over Hemlock Bridge, we walked the orange Spatterdock Trail that circles Spatterdock Pond. We made our way to a tower that looks out on Big Pond via Spatterdock and a connecting trail. We walked along the top end of Spatterdock Pond.

Hugh’s Tower overlooks Big Pond.
We have climbed this tower on past visits to the Audubon Center. We didn’t climb the tower yesterday, as I didn’t feel like doing steps.

Leaving the tower we used a connecting trail, Spatterdock Trail, and a small part of the Overlook Trail to make our way back to the parking lot.

We saw this Canada Goose family along the way.

No trip to the Audubon Center would be complete without visiting Liberty. So, we visited her enclosure on our way back to the parking lot.

Say hello to Liberty!
Liberty was found in the state of Washington, with an infected cut on her left wing. She cannot be released because the muscle damage in her wing prevents her from flying well enough to hunt in the wild.
Liberty can fly short distances inside her habitat.
Liberty has lived at the Audubon Center since June 2002.
A group of volunteers take good care of her.

PLEASE NOTE: All photographs in this blog post may be viewed larger by visiting Flickr, for as long as I have Flickr. Please click here to view larger-size images for this blog post.

Chincoteague VA Vacation (3rd post)

As we had done each morning, while on vacation in Virginia, we got up around 6:00 am on Easter Sunday, April 17th.

We didn’t see the sun actually rise today,
as it was hidden behind clouds.

The temperature was around 50 degrees at sunrise.  The sun did break through the clouds later in the morning and gave us sunny skies.  It was a chilly day, though, with a high temperature of 58 degrees. The weather in Chincoteague was better than back in our hometown of Warren PA.  At sunrise the temperature in Warren was 31 degrees, with some snow on the ground!

Bob prepared Easter breakfast.
We enjoyed a breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs, toast and orange juice.

Late morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and parked in the Wildlife Loop parking lot.  We rode our bicycles from the parking lot, alongside Beach Road to the seashore. 

We passed by the Assateague Lighthouse.
We passed by Chincoteague ponies.
We saw a Snowy Egret.
We saw a Mallard Duck.
We rode our bicycles to Assateague Beach.

Back on Beach Road, near Toms Cove Visitor Center, a few birds held our attention for a while.

We saw seagulls in flight.
We saw another Snowy Egret.

The Snowy Egret was alone, until …

A second Snowy Egret arrived on the scene.
The first Snowy Egret chased the second Snowy Egret away.

We returned to the parking lot via Black Duck Trail and the Wildlife Loop (with a detour to Swan Cove).  The wind was fierce at times.  We rode flat ground but, even in first gear, I felt as though I were pedaling up a hill.  We rode 7.85 miles, and that was a wrap for riding our bicycles this vacation. The next day was chilly, windy and rainy.

Bob captured video with our GoPro7 camera, during our three bicycle rides. He prepared a video recap from our bicycling adventures.

We bicycled a total of 17.89 miles, while on vacation.

Our lunch was ice cream at the Island Creamery.  We visit the Island Creamery each time we vacation in Chincoteague. Bob had two scoops of Java Jolt in a cup.  I had two scoops of ice cream in a cup too — one scoop of Cadbuy Crème Egg and one scoop of peanut butter cup.

After “lunch” we returned to Airbnb “Tranquil Shores” and relaxed.

Around 4:00 pm we prepared Easter dinner –  grilled ham steak, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake. 

Early evening we returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and drove to the seashore.  We returned to “Tranquil Shores” via downtown Chincoteague. We stopped briefly at Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park. This is a lovely waterfront park, located on Eastside Road. The Park has tennis courts, basketball courts, playground equipment, fishing/crabbing pier, ball field, boat ramp, skate park, pavilion and restrooms. 

Back at “Tranquil Shores” we watched an episode of “Vera”, before going to bed.

Ohio Vacation Day 4 (6/28/2021)

We walked down to the edge of the wetlands this morning. There was an adult bald eagle sitting in the snag on which we have seen one or two eagles often throughout the day, since our arrival on Friday afternoon. The lighting wasn’t good in that direction, so I didn’t take any pictures of the eagle. I did take pictures of a dragonfly and turtles.

Dragonfly at Wetlands at Airbnb
Turtles at Wetlands at Airbnb

It is hot and humid, even at 9:00 am. When I returned to the house, I was drenched in sweat from my neck up.

About an hour later, while sitting in the living room, I saw an osprey flying over the wetlands. Good thing I got my camera and went out on the deck. The osprey provided a bit of excitement, at least photographically.

An osprey flying over the Airbnb wetlands sees something of interest.
The osprey soared low in the sky over the Airbnb wetlands.
I lost the osprey shortly after I took this picture,
as it dove into the pond behind one of the buildings near the pond.

I stayed on the deck, camera in hand. Within seconds the osprey returned into view.

The osprey snagged a fish; a small bird gave chase.

Late morning/early afternoon we drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to the Ira Trailhead, and walked ¼ mile to Beaver Marsh. What a HOT and HUMID walk that was! We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. We saw a great blue heron, snapping turtle (no picture), red wing blackbird and tree swallows.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Great Blue Heron
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Red-Winged Blackbird

I captured a few pictures of tree swallows, as we spent the most time watching their acrobatic flight.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Two Tree Swallows

We returned to our rental Airbnb and ate lunch. I ate a picnic lunch indoors, and Bob ate Ramen Noodles that he found in the kitchen.

A storm rolled through around 5:00 pm.

It would have been very nice,
if this storm had taken the heat and humidity with it when it left.
That didn’t happen, though.

The temperature did drop 20 degrees, from 90 (with a heat index of 103) to 70. It didn’t take long, though, for the heat and humidity to return.

Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Kendall Lake (6/27/2021)

I got up at 6:00 am this morning. Bob was already up. I made a cup of tea and drank it on the deck, as I watched the sun rise and listened to the birds singing.

Sunrise at our Hudson OH Airbnb

Bob went for a bicycle ride. I didn’t see him leave, as I did yesterday. He rode the same trail as yesterday but in the opposite direction. Bob rode as far as Brandywine Falls (the top of the falls) and back, for a total of 12 miles.

Later in the morning we drove to Kendall Lake in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Kendall Lake is a manmade lake that was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935. It is the largest lake in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We hiked the 1 mile trail around the lake. The terrain varies with some stairs to climb, however the loop trail was fairly flat and not too challenging.

Kendall Lake
We accessed the Kendall Lake Trail near the parking lot.
Kendall Lake Trail
There are several trails at Kendall Lake. The trails are well marked.
The lake trail is the right-hand trail.
Kendall Lake Trail
Kendall Lake Trail
This portion of the trail was a short uphill climb.
This was our first view of Kendall Lake from the trail.
Kendall Lake
Yesterday we ate a picnic lunch in the building across the lake.
Kendall Lake Trail
We crossed over a small wooden bridge.
Kendall Lake Trail
We climbed up these steps.
Kendall Lake Trail
We had a good view of the fishing pier from the top of the steps.
Kendall Lake Trail
We climbed down these steps.
We were near the end of the trail here.
Kendall Lake
We walked to the fishing pier.
Kendall Lake
Canadian Geese
Kendall Lake
Canadian Geese in a Row
Kendall Lake Canadian Geese
Hey! Wait for me!
Kendall Lake
Red-Winged Blackbird
Kendall Lake
Barn Swallow

Leaving Kendall Lake, we attempted to go to Brandywine Falls but the parking lot was full. A sign said to try again after 5:00 pm. We went to the new Cuyahoga Valley National Park visitor center instead. Stay tuned! I will publish a new blog post soon about our visit to the visitor center.

Ohio Vacation Day 2 (6/26/2021)

I got up for the day at 5:45 am, as Bob was leaving for a bicycle ride. Bob rode a portion of the Bike and Hike Trail. He reached the trail by bicycling neighborhood streets across from our rental Airbnb. He got on the trail near the Bridgewater Blvd-Nottingham Gate Blvd-Terex Road intersections. He rode as far south as Bow Wow Beach. Bob said he rode 10 miles total.

While Bob was bicycling, I sat for a short time on the deck enjoying the view and birdsong.

We ate breakfast, after Bob returned from his bicycle ride. Bob had scrambled eggs and orange juice. I had orange juice and instant oatmeal.

We added another 10.15 miles to Bob’s total bicycle miles. We drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and rode the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (Please click on link!) from the Ira Trailhead to Peninsula and back.

After our bicycle ride, we stayed in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and drove to Kendall Lake.

We ate a picnic lunch at Kendall Lake.

There is a 1-mile trail around Kendall Lake. We hope to walk the trail another day.

Before returning to our rental Airbnb, we drove to Walmart and picked up a few more grocery items.

We stayed “home” for rest of the afternoon and evening and enjoyed the beauty of our rental Airbnb and its grounds. We walked down to the pond to check out the view of the pond from that vantage point.

Canadian Geese are frequent visitors to the wetlands at our Airbnb.
The wetlands at our Airbnb
Our Airbnb hosts have an aviary.
nside the aviary are three parrots!
This is Mickey.
This is Kiwi.
This is Pepe, who is blind.

Later in the afternoon I captured photographs of songbirds and eagles. I photographed the songbirds and eagles from the comfort of our deck.

Female House Finch
Male and Female House Finches
Red-Winged Blackbird
Baltimore Oriole Enjoying Grape Jelly
Two eagles in a tree snag in the wetlands
An eagle in the wetlands

In addition to two adult eagles, we have seen two juvenile eagles as well. The eagles are way, way out in the pond. The pictures of the eagles were taken with a camera lens having an effective focal length of 1200mm. The pictures are heavily cropped.

Tonight’s dinner was stuffed green peppers with baked potatoes.

We enjoyed a colorful sunset, before going to bed.

Sunset at Airbnb
Chambers on the Road

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