A Walk in the Park

The day was remarkably warm, and I couldn’t resist a walk in the park. Neither could anyone else, it seemed, because the parking lot and trails bustled with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. Needless to say, most of the park’s wild residents were in hiding. Even so, this downy woodpecker lingered near the road, and an egret paused at my camera’s most distant limit.

Near the end of my walk, I stumbled into a herd of mourning cloak butterflies.

And finally, just before I reached my car, I noticed a commotion across the road. A large, mixed flock of warblers, chickadees, and other small birds flitted through the underbrush, staying long enough for me to catch a single frame of bluebird.

After they moved on, I hesitated, as I always do when it’s time to leave. My reluctance was rewarded when a pileated woodpecker flashed by and lit just a few yards away. She and I spent a few curious moments sizing each other up, then she went ahead with her foraging as I fumbled with my camera.

And now I’m home again, relaxing in my office. The dog is asleep at my feet, her arthritic legs and gray muzzle twitching as she dreams mysterious dog dreams. The cats are sprawled in splashes of sun, whiskers ruffled by a cool breeze that promises I will have to close the windows soon.

Soon, but not just yet…

14 thoughts on “A Walk in the Park

  1. bardessdmdenton February 27, 2012 / 3:42 PM

    What a wonderful walk with such fascinating sightings, and then that cozy ending to a perfect day. Your description of being at home again is lovely!

    I really enjoyed this post, Rae!

    • Rae Spencer February 27, 2012 / 4:43 PM

      Thank you! I enjoy my walks, and I love how they always end at home. 🙂

  2. jbcamera February 24, 2012 / 7:26 AM

    I am so jealous! I know we have Pileateds in our area, but have never had a good look at one, let alone a photo. Great job!

  3. Jeanette Gallagher February 23, 2012 / 10:49 PM

    Each photograph unique with its own beauty! How, Rae, HOW did you know that this is a “mourning cloak” butterfly? Amazing!

    • Rae Spencer February 23, 2012 / 11:09 PM


      I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I have no idea when and how I learned about these butterflies! I just know that when I saw them today, my brain dredged up the name “mourning cloak”. I even googled them this afternoon, thinking I might find a website that looked familiar. I found lots of nice references, like this one, but nothing I could call my original source.

      So I don’t have a coherent answer for your question. As much as I detest forgetting things like this, I have forgotten my first introduction to these particular beauties. It’s kind of frightening, this tendency toward forgetting…

  4. withoutaudacity February 23, 2012 / 7:51 PM

    Must have been a satisfying hike. I know if I had seen AND photographed a pileated woodpecker, it was a good day.

  5. Vicki February 23, 2012 / 5:39 PM

    how wonderful that you were able to see all these creatures on your walk.. thanks for sharing, I have only seen an egret 1 time years ago, and haven’t seen any of the others..

    • Rae Spencer February 23, 2012 / 6:09 PM

      One of the reasons I love First Landing State Park is the birds! I also heard a kingfisher today, a species that is on my photography bucket list. I walked in circles for a while, trying to find it, and that’s when I found the butterflies. They were a very pleasant surprise. I thought it was too early for them, and I’ve never seen so many at once. They made up for the disappearing kingfisher.

  6. IseeIwriteIam February 23, 2012 / 5:16 PM

    I’m jealous! Our birds are in hiding today, it’s currently raining and they’re predicting 5-8 inches of snow by tomorrow. I want to be able to open my windows!!!

    • Rae Spencer February 23, 2012 / 5:21 PM

      I’d be hiding, too, with that much snow in the forecast! And it’s beginning to look a little rainy here, if that helps… 🙂

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