National Parks,  Nature

A Thanksgiving Morning Bird Photo Walk in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

It was 45 degrees at sunrise with partly cloudy skies.  This was quite unusual weather for Northeast Ohio at the end of November.  With such nice weather, I couldn’t resist heading out for a photography walk before the holiday festivities.

Downy Woodpecker in the Tall Grass

Downy Woodpecker in the Tall Grass

I’ve always had good luck photographing birds at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Thanksgiving morning was no different.  The Beaver Marsh located off of the Ira Trailhead is one of my favorite spots for photographing birds. 

The Beaver Marsh is a shallow marsh with numerous dead trees.  The marsh has two docks where you can set up to photograph birds and wildlife in the marsh.  Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Great Blue Herons can often be found in the Beaver Marsh. 

Birds often perch in the dead trees to look for insects and hunt for small fish in the marsh. This morning I found a Belted Kingfisher in the Beaver Marsh fishing for breakfast.

Belted Kingfisher in the Beaver Marsh

Belted Kingfisher in the Beaver Marsh

The Ira trailhead leads to the Towpath Trail that follows along the Ohio & Erie Canal.   I’ve often photographed birds in the bushes and trees along the canal.  This morning I found a Downy Woodpecker pecking in some tall grass, a sleepy Eastern Screech Owl, and a flock of Goldfinches working on the seeds in a Sycamore Tree.

A Well Camouflaged Eastern Screech Owl

A Well Camouflaged Eastern Screech Owl

The towpath along the Ira Trailhead is one of my go to spots for bird photography.  The area is very good during the spring and fall migrations but it also has a good variety of native species for year round bird photography.

Written by Martin Belan

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