Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Big 4

Tufted Titmouse
White-Breasted Nuthatch

Black-Capped Chickadee

Downey Woodpecker

I call them the big 4 but actually it should be the little 4. They were out in full force the other day when I was at Kensington Metropark. These little birds are so friendly and cute and best of all they pose for my camera. All will eat from your hand as well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Art of Walking Too

Look closely at the above picture. You can barely see the trail slant uphill and make a curve to the left. At first it looks like the trail just goes straight but as you advance you see around the bend. I absolutely believe that you have to train yourself to see everything that is on/off the trail and look around every bend. I have a tendency to walk along not seeing what I am looking at. My mind wanders and soon I am thinking about everyday problems and worries. I have to bring myself back to the moment and be not only an observer, but an interpeter...see the slant of the sun light, smell the damp forrest floor, see the slight movement of a bird in the trees and not miss a thing. That takes a lot of patience (of which I have always been short).

Jack-in-the pulpit berries

There is so much to see and feel around you. I love the end of this poem by Thoreau:

If with fancy unfurled

You leave your abode,

You may go round the world

By the old Marlborough Road.

There is a whole world out there, insects. birds, animals, plants, trees all going about the business of living and if you look at it all closely you can see the miniture world around you.

The Perfect Walk

I set out for a walk on a "perfect day". The sun is shining the temperatures are moderate and I am hoping for the "perfect" photograph of a bird or butterfly. But, in reality, some of my best walks have been on cloudy, rainy days, or cold autumn mornings or best of all winter walks in newly fallen snow. Just a glimpse of a heron flying over the river, of seeing the little Jack-in-the-pulpit berries on the forrest floor is a rewarding walk at the end of the day.

Autumn is coming...my favorite time of the year and the best time for birding. The trees have lost some of their leaves making it easier to see the birds and there are birds migrating that you won't see at other times of the year. The smell of the woods, the brilliant colors and the crisp, cool temperatures all make walking most pleasant. Again Thoreau puts it better than I....

As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year nears its setting.
October is it's sunset sky; November it's later twilights.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Art of Walking

The art of walking or taking a walk may be as simple as stepping out your front door and walking around your neighborhood or as complicated as months on the Appalachian Trail. If you walk for the exercise or walk to experience the great outdoors there are great benefits no matter.
I am an amateur walker as walkers go....an amateur walker, amateur birder and butterfly chaser. I have a lot to learn about walking both practical and spiritually.

Be Prepared (the white hat story)

If you have ever met a mosquito that you liked, read no further! If you have been attacked by a swarm of these obnoxious creatures or worse yet, the viscous black fly, you know that you have to come armed and ready. I use the fairly new Off fan which I call my fanmobile. It isn't enough, however. Bug spray over ever part, exposed or not will keep them from biting but not from buzzing around your head. Backpackers have many tricks, if they didn't they would have to give it up.

Keeping the sun from your face and the glare out of your eyes adds to the comfort of your walk. Also I must protect my expensive hair tint from the fading sunlight. You also need a precaution from the UV rays that cause skin cancer so be prepared with sunscreen and a great hat. I found my great hat (I thought) at Meijers for $4. It is white with a medium size brim. It really is the most cooling hat although easily stained. Immediate relief from the glare and heat.

When you step into the woods, meadow or marsh, all creatures, big and small, know that you are there. If you are very still they may become used to you and see you as non-threatening but I'm afraid that my white hat was like a police flashing light. It scared away birds, butterflies and dragonflies. I tried a few other hats but they all had their downsides. I finally just ordered a hat with UV protection, medium brim in a camouflage color. So far, so good.

Shoes and clothing choices are equally important but just use your common sense. Experience is the best teacher.

Henry David Thoreau

"Probably if our lives were more conformed to nature, we should not have to defend ourselves against her heats and colds, but find her our constant nurse and friend" That was written by Thoreau around 1866. Gosh, I would love it to be that way but living in the 21st century, I feel so lucky that there are still natural places to walk and enjoy. Wonder what Henry would think of our world today.

More on walking later....................

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Afternoon Stroll

" Look over there at those old biddies in the weeds".
"As I was saying, Alice, I told her no more nonsense or she's out of the club"
"Can you fathom him acting like such a fool"?

"Men, I will never understand them".

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Silver Spotted Skipper

Tiger Swallowtail

As I walked along at Kensington, I saw quite a few butterflies: monarchs, swallowtails, cabbage whites and small blue butterflies. However, butterflies are even worse than birds for posing and sitting still for a picture. It was hot and sunny and the butterflies seemed agitated, not alighting anywhere.

Summer isn't over yet! I still have the rest of August and September to photograph this elusive insect. Note: both of these butterflies are on a butterfly bush (Buddelia). Plant one in your yard!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Sandhill Cranes at Kensington. These critters are not bothered by people and usually have a crowd following them taking pictures. They will nip at you if they have young chicks but these sibs are older. They are so funny looking, I think.

Alvin...almost didn't recognize him without his red sweater with the A on the front. He is a cutie.


Another surprise around the corner. As I started walking towards him/her, he let out a yell and ran off. First time that have heard a deer make a noise. I spotted him later in the deep woods. Above photos taken at Kensington Metropark.

Isn't this Cedar Waxwing beautiful...so smooth and sleek. Pretty in the setting sun. This was taken at Crosswinds.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunset Stroll

This and That

Black-eyed Susan
Picture of my hydranga in my front flower bed. Last fall I cut it way back and feared that was the end of it but it came back more beautiful than ever with huge flowers.

Don't know who was more surprised me or the deer. Took this along the meadow at Lake Erie. This is the little copse of trees where the Indigo Buntings hang out.....so pleased to see the deer though.

Beautiful Monarch

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lotus Flower

This beautiful lotus flower is closed for the evening. During the day the flowers are open and beautiful. If you have an hour to spare this month,

go to Lake Erie Metropark and walk along the water to see these beautiful specimens.