Winter day in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

So I took a little hike on the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, thinking I’d have the place pretty much to myself. I was mistaken. The place wasn’t especially crowded, but there were cars in the parking lots, a few hikers and a few more cross-country skiers. Plenty of birds too. More on that later.

But first, pretty pictures!

I saw a fork in the stream.

The colors in winter are often so muted, it's hard to tell if the image is color or black and white. Bluish clouds kinda give this one away.

Plain lady cardinal. Seems kind of cruel that in the world of birds, the guys get all the looks.

These nuthatches are surprisingly aggressive!

About the chickadees and nuthatches. I noticed as I was walking from the Bolanz Road trailhead toward the beaver pond that the birds seemed to be following me. Which I thought was a tad odd — usually they scatter, especially goldfinches. But he chickadees were definitely following me. “Maybe they’re curious,” I thought. While returning from the pond, I noticed the birds were following me again. Then one swooped right out in front of my face. Then it did it again. Kind of freaked me out. They can’t be protecting a nest in winter, can they? I mentioned the chickadees to a woman on the trail and she says, “Oh, they think you’re feeding them. They’ll eat right out of your hand.” Memo to self: Next time bring bird seed. I initially identified the bird above as a chickadee, which if my too-big-to-be-field-portable field guide is correct, is actually a nuthatch. They’re similar in size and coloring and they often can be seen in the same places. I believe there were chickadees around as well.

The snow and ice make the beaver dam more obvious.

The transition from land to pond is in various degrees of freeze and thaw.

OK, I tweaked the contrast on this a bit (OK, a lot) to make the image more obvious.

Some critters were light enough on its feet to cross on this thin ice.

Indigo Lake

The train was running today. I didn't see it, but I heard it.

Watch out where the huskies go ...

Winter sky

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5 thoughts on “Winter day in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  1. Correction: The small bird pictured above actually appears to be a nuthatch. Let that be a lesson for identifying a bird without consulting a field guide first! Apparently nuthatches and chickadees do commingle, according to the Smithsonian Birds of North America.

  2. Considering a trip into the area to see the chickadees. My girlfriend is a huge chickadee fan and I think she’d enjoy it. I managed to find the Bolanz Rd. trailhead but I’m not sure which small body of water is the beaver pond. Which way do we need to hike from that trailhead to pass the chickadees?

    Thanks in advance!

    -Ray from Butler, PA

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