The Ice-Cutter.


I am thankful this is the last weekend of Winter, not that it means that we have turned a corner or anything; no, it simply means we are two days away from the calendar proclaiming it as the “First Day of Spring” – I am a realist.

Here in Southeast Michigan, Winter is not over yet and it wouldn’t surprise me if Mother Nature had another go-around with us as to the white stuff.  I still have snow in my front and back yards, and you saw snow on the roof of the Little Red Schoolhouse in yesterday’s photos from Heritage Park.  There are contests in this state’s Upper Peninsula where people guess when the final snow melt will occur and the Coast Guard ice-cutters up in Lake Michigan will be in service for at least another month.   This short video will show you how the Coast Guard ice cutters plow through the ice-filled waters near the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  They’ll carve out a trail for the freighters during the shipping season:

The temperature reached 60 degrees today!  I didn’t partake in all that warmth and sunshine, however, as I decided to walk at my usual time and it was still nippy out.  The ice still covered about 75% of the Ecorse Creek as it winds parallel to Council Point Park’s walking path.  I really enjoy the peace and solitude of the Park in the early morn, along with its subtle noises like the songbirds and downy woodpecker, and even the geese or ducks raising a racket in their natural habitat, and I was the only human there for the first hour of my walk.

In the first loop, I fed my furry little pals and took a few pictures of them enjoying their peanuts, and scurrying away to hide a few more, but, the geese and ducks were not around so I put the camera away.

The landscape is so blah at the Park right now.  It is a mixture of browns and ochres mostly.  The Canada geese blend into the brownish-gray water as do the female mallards.  On a sunny day, the glint of the greenish-teal head of a drake will quickly capture your attention.  The straw-colored pampas grass waving in the wind, the many cockleburs and last Fall’s leaves embedded in the dead grass or underbrush, make for a boring backdrop to any photos I take in late Winter/early Spring at this venue.

So, when I saw a very large mute swan in the Creek in loop number two of the perimeter path, it caught my attention.


The white body, graceful neck and bright-orange bill … well it certainly stood out in the blah background as you see in the photo above.  Quickly I dug out the camera, hoping to get a few shots for today’s blog post.

What I didn’t expect to see, until I ventured closer to the Creek banks, was that the swan was having difficulty plowing through the Creek’s icy surface.  Obviously my memory was poor as to what happened the last time I tracked a mute swan down to the water’s edge, and he got out of the water and chased me down.  I hurried over anyway to catch a glimpse of this beautiful bird up close.

I could see the swan had cut through a swath of ice already, leaving a watery path in its wake.  But, as large as the swan was, it was having difficulty in its role as “the ice-cutter” and I watched it pummel the ice with wide webbed feet, kicking and struggling to push itself forward through the ice.   You can see the ice in front of it with its body in the water, feet kicking furiously.

feet paddling.jpg

On occasion, it even used its long orange beak to help chip the ice away, or perhaps guide it through these icy straits.

using beak to break ice

I was amazed.  A couple of times the swan saw me glimpsing at it, but stayed on task, and finally, with a huge push of its massive feet, it was propelled over to the Creek bank, where it climbed up.

up the embankment.jpg

Once up the Creek bank, it stood within a few feet of me, as if it didn’t know what to do now that it had reached landfall.


I watched it preening, as it delicately picked clumps of ice from its feathers.  You can see how its slender neck was soaking wet from the icy Creek where it had just emerged.


I found myself feeling sorry for this beautiful creature, and thought about sharing some peanuts from the bag in my pocket when it was done grooming.  But, I thought it might have a notion to come after me and I’d have to run out into the street – I’d have been fine, but the swan might have been hit by a vehicle.  The last encounter with the swan, we were in a secluded area of the Park, far away from any vehicles or nearby neighborhoods.

glorious bird.jpg

I watched the preening ritual, wondering if the swan would just go and sit somewhere, maybe until later when it warmed up, or even fly away, perhaps down to the Detroit River, just a mile away.  But, it seemed resigned to go back and plow through the chilly water once again, because it padded back to the Creek bank, down the side, and soon I heard the sounds of ice breaking as it laboriously pushed itself on its journey.

end-back at it.jpg

I sure was impressed with this feathered ice-cutter and believe it would give the Coast Guard contingent a run for its money.

I am sure the swan welcomes Spring weather as much as I do.  I added another five miles to my tally under a brilliant blue sky and a welcome sun.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

I’m feelin’ lucky today …


… or maybe I should say “I’m feelin’ ducky” because I had my ducks in a row …

ducks in a row

… when I hightailed it to Heritage Park in Taylor for my walk this morning.  This is a beautiful park about six miles from where I live.  I finally visited Heritage Park for the first time last Summer after driving past it for years.  What a treat it was!  I am including my blogpost from last August, because the photos I took on today’s trip really don’t showcase the peace and beauty of this park in its Summertime glory:

By the time I arrived today, there were some stunning sunbeams illuminating Heritage Park, so I’d say my timing was impeccable, as it had been cloudy when I left home.

I parked the car and headed over to the historical portion of Heritage Park, as I wanted to feed the ducks and take some pictures of them first.

all ducks at pond

What a surprise to find most of the manmade lake, known as Coan Lake. covered in ice!  I should have thought of it, since the Ecorse Creek at Council Point Park, has been iced over all week.

A wooden covered bridge bisects Coan Lake and on one side it was nearly frozen over.  In the 30-degree temperature, many seagulls were roosting or walking around on the surface.

On the other side of the bridge, there were many frozen portions, but along the edge the ducks were able to paddle around.

I had taken crackers with me since they were such a draw at the water front last Sunday.  I tossed out a few handfuls, this time remembering to take out the camera out and have it ready.  Well, I might have been ready for those ducks and a few geese which lingered around the water’s edge, but instead, the seagulls from the other side immediately zipped over my head, screeching and carrying on.  Those seagulls must have good eyesight, that’s all I can say.

I took the rest of my treats and headed over to the covered bridge so the ducks would get a fair share and since I wanted some photos of them.  I threw out the crackers and watched them gathering from underneath the covered bridge – it was a safe place to be as the seagulls were crisscrossing the sky overhead, as if I’d handed out fish tidbits or even Goldfish crackers.

Some of the ducks preferred to stay far away from the fray that ensued, content to concentrate on preening themselves or catching a few extra ZZZZZs.

ducks preening

I had to keep putting the camera away as my bare fingers, in those fingerless gloves, were very cold.  Like those few mallards who strayed from the maddening crowd, I likewise enjoyed the idyllic setting.

covered bridge.jpg


gulls in front of red schoolhouse

There were quite a few mallards on the grassy area by the water’s edge.  I guess they grew tired of slipping and sliding on the icy surface, and I could sure identify with them, having endured that three days of ice-slickened sidewalks and driveway every morning when I went out to run the car.  It was downright treacherous for me.  I had to smile as I watched a few of them waddling across the ice.

ducks on the ice.jpg

But, on land, there was this one mallard who not meandering, but  strutting his stuff along the path to the bridge, and he looked comical, so I grabbed the camera once again and had to just deal with the frozen fingers, occasionally blowing on them to keep them warm.

strutting duck1

This mallard was giving me the side-eye!

side eye.jpg

I think his mate was nearby.  When I reviewed my photos, though I liked this image of Mrs. Duck, whatever was on her nose?

mrs duck with nose.jpg

The seagulls hung around, probably waiting for another handout, but I had taken the rest of the bag of treats when they were scarfing down the first batch, and I fed the ducks behind their backs.

So, that means dear seagulls, the joke’s on you, even though it looks to me these seagulls were enjoying a private joke.

one seagull laughing.jpg

two seagulls laughing.jpg

A slew of ducks was playing tag by one of the historical buildings, and one was lagging behind.  This mallard apparently didn’t notice me standing there as he ran as fast as his legs could carry him right in front of me.  Was he looking for his playmates, or running late to dine on corned beef and cabbage?

duck running.jpg

I follow Heritage Park’s happenings on Facebook and checked out the new gazebo that was built last Fall.  The gazebo is a popular setting for prom, homecoming and even wedding photos.   In the background is the little red schoolhouse and mill and the gulls are flapping around on the ice.

new gazebo1.jpg

I heard a Canada goose honking like crazy as it prepared to land smack in the middle of the ice-covered lake.  I thought to myself “this ought to be interesting … can it see it is not water, but ice?”  I watched its slow descent and it suddenly smashed down onto the ice, sending pieces skittering across the frozen surface and making a huge splash in the cold water.  The seagulls jumped back in surprise as the goose paddled in his own little pool of water.

seagull and goose.jpg

I took a trip around the perimeter of Coan Lake, camera in hand, and couldn’t resist taking some photos of a pair of geese, who first were walking side-by-side companionably, then one had a hissy fit with its friend or mate, just as the seagull was streaking by and photobombed the shot.  (Note the hissing and the pink tongue in the first photo, then the lowered head and more of the hissing in the next photo.)  The hissing histrionics went on for several minutes, and I wanted to interject myself into the fracas to say “can’t we just agree to disagree and not get so huffy?”

geese strolling2

geese mad A.jpg

geese mad B.jpg

geese happy again.jpg

They finally got over their squabble and waddled off, and so did I, er … strolled off in the opposite direction.  I took several trips around the historical part of the Park, then I went two complete laps of Heritage Park.  I was tired and hungry by the time I got to the car, and by then, the car was warm and toasty as it was 40 degrees out.  Finally my fingers thawed out and I drove off, five miles of steps taken and a mess of photos just waiting to be uploaded once I got home.

It was an enjoyable morning at Heritage Park; I hope you had a spring in your step on this St. Paddy’s Day as well!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sometimes you feel like a nut …

03-14-18 header

… sometimes you don’t.

Frosty weather still prevails here in Southeast Michigan, and it was only 23 degrees with a real feel of 12 degrees, when I departed on my walk this morning.  By the time I got to Council Point Park, my lips were numb, my eyes were watering and my nose was running from the cold and blustery wind.  I hoped I didn’t run into anyone else on the trail, and, luckily I was the only walker once again.  I sure knew my squirrel pals wouldn’t care how I looked, that is … if they came around today.

So, who doesn’t remember that catchy jingle for Almond Joy candy bars back in the day?  The commercial was a toe-tapping tune that started out with the words “sometimes you feel like a nut … sometimes you don’t.”  The jingle left a perpetual ear worm whenever you heard it … to refresh your  memory, here is that commercial circa 1977:

That little ditty was on my mind this morning upon my arrival at Council Point Park.

While I lack the brilliant mind of the renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, who passed away earlier today, this morning I had a revelation.  It goes like this:

On Monday, the sky was gray and gloomy looking and we had a blustery 25 degrees.  There were no squirrels on the perimeter path for the daily meet-and-greet that has become our morning ritual.

Yesterday, we had the same cold and windy weather, and again it was 25 degrees, however … a pale sun was up in the sky, bathing the Park in a soft light.  Though it was just as cold as Monday, a passel of squirrels came rushing over to see me.  My thought at first, was they were a little fickle.  But this has happened before – one day they’re all over me and the next day, they don’t bother to come down from their nests.

Fast forward to today … for mid-March, it felt a little brutal out there at 23 degrees with a wind chill of 12, and the coldest day of the last three, but, as I started on the trail, those squirrels came scrambling down from their respective trees, a streaming pack of peanut pals, with Parker out front, all racing toward me.

My scientific observations tell me that it has to be the sun that helps lure them out of their respective nests and to ground level.  It was a vivid blue sky and a brilliant sun this morning.  Perhaps these furry creatures lack enthusiasm and energy on the cold and gray days, much like many of us who live in a four-season climate do.  After all, we are all God’s creatures, so why should the non-human species be any different?

It’s good to be curious about how things work and why things happen sometimes.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided until more Spring-like weather arrives, I’ll classify these extra-sunny days as “good shadow days”  … today was definitely one of those.

I’ll leave you with this good advice from a genius:

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.  Be curious.  And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.  It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Stephen Hawking

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Tuesday Musings.

I sure am glad I don’t live in the northern ‘burbs because they’ve been blasted with snow the last week or so, and we’ve remained unscathed.  Whew!

Monday morning when I left for my walk, the blah-looking lawns looked sugar-coated from a heavy frost, and I heard, before I saw, my neighbor scraping her car windshield rather vigorously so she could get going on her long commute to work.  I wasn’t sure which was louder, the cursing or the ice scraper as it grated across the glass.  Ouch!  The gray sky and blustery wind made the 25-degree temperature feel pretty brutal for the second week in March, so I wasn’t surprised to arrive at the Park and discover I was the only one there and I mean the ONLY one.  The entire Creek was frozen over, so no ducks or geese were in the water, and the squirrels decided to hunker down in their cozy nests.  There was not even a single cheep or tweet coming from the trees.

Thus, it was one of those days to just get the steps done and not sightsee or meander off the beaten path.

Today, at least the sun put in an appearance, though it was a pale imitation of the real deal, and it was a whopping 28 degrees.  The Creek was still frozen over, so no ducks or geese, nor the elusive heron, were out and about.  But, that sun apparently made all the difference in the world to the squirrels, because I had a welcoming committee and a lot of tap dancing around my feet while I struggled to get the Ziploc bag of peanuts opened without removing my gloves.  The more I fumbled, the more impatient they grew.  I must have a better method to dispense peanuts in the Winter time … I’ll work on that for next Winter.  Meanwhile, let’s get over this Winter first.  A week from today is the first day of Spring, and, I suspect it will be a calendar date only, since there is no significant warm-up slated for the near future.  But … it could be Boston – oh, those poor Bostonians.

After all the hype, March Madness has finally arrived.  I have a little March Madness of my own to share – another shadow picture, though I am missing my sidekick for this photo.  Last week, you’ll recall, I had a blogpost featuring a delightful photo of Parker and me and our respective shadows.   I often feel like I am shadowed by this cute little squirrel when I am at the Park, so to call that post “Me and my shadow”  actually had a double meaning.

The long angles of the sun in the morning create some interesting shadows sometimes.  While walking through the neighborhood, enroute to the Park, I hurriedly snapped this image because one glance at my shadow reminded me of my mom’s old-fashioned clothes pegs back in the day.


I am originally from Canada and there are some vocabulary words which are different from over here in the States.  I can ramble off a list like “serviette” for napkin, or “toque” for knit cap, or there is “chesterfield” for couch, and on and on the list goes.  In Canada, those clips you use to attach your wet laundry to the clothesline were “clothes pegs” not “clothes pins” and long after we moved to the States in 1966, my mother still called them “pegs”.

Mom was a trooper about hanging out the laundry as soon as the snow melted in April, and she did so until the first flurries flew in November.  She’d hang those clothes on her pulley line, reel them out in the morning and reel them back in when they were dry, sometimes cold and stiff as a board, and yes they did smell fresh and clean, but is sure was not as easy as popping them in the dryer.  And did I mention she used a wringer washer in those days too?

Anyway, I saw my shadow and just knew I had to find an image of an old-fashioned clothes peg.  I really wanted a vertical peg to put side-by-side with my picture, and I scoured all my photo resources for one, to no avail.  Unfortunately, there are no more “pegs” to be found in this home, so I am using this image instead.

clothespin - pixabay creative commons

I’ve woven a little of my own March madness into this official kickoff to college basketball’s March Madness event.  It’s a time for stats and wins and losses, not only your teams, but if you have a little money in those games as well.

As for stats, while walking this morning, I was thinking of all the steps I will be taking to meet this year’s goal.  Math is not my strongpoint, but I figure I must get to 150 miles walked by the end of March, and then at least another 100 miles per month thereafter, maybe even more since November and December are sometimes iffy due to snow and ice.  It wore me out just thinking about it.

But, after taking a look at this picture and seeing those extra-long legs, I think I may be up to the task!

Stride on, and strive to make that goal.  Just call me “Long Tall Sally”.


[Image of clothes pegs from Pixabay, Creative Commons]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Gulls just wanna have fun …


… even when they lose an hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Saving Time.  Grrr!  It wasn’t so much the loss of sleep for me, but, it seems like the day kind of just slips away from you, even losing that one measly hour.  So I got up an hour early to keep that from happening.

Today, I decided to head down to the riverfront at John Dingell Park.  I enjoyed it so much when I took that first trip there in January, then returned a few weeks later with binoculars to watch the eagles that were soaring in the treetops at nearby Mud Island.

There were no eagles today, nor were there any humans at the pavilion area at this park.  Last time, there were several professional photographers with their tripods and camera gear set up to capture images of the eagles and waterfowl.

I did take a box of crackers with me, and, when I first arrived, I was disappointed to see the area devoid of any waterfowl to lavish my treats on.

So, I tossed  a few crackers out.  I deliberately chose crackers since they float and more birds would be attracted to the food if they could see it, and it didn’t end up sinking to the bottom of the water.

Well, that was a good hunch on my part, because it took less than a minute before a band of wild-acting geese and ducks, not to mention unruly seagulls arrived.  You probably know that seagulls can hone in on food and have been known to grab hot dogs off a BBQ grill, or even out of someone’s hands!

Well, I was still busy tossing treats and hadn’t even taken the camera out of the case yet.  Suddenly it was mayhem with all these birds coming out of the sky and fighting for their share … even the sparrows were flitting around me looking for handouts.  (And I thought Parker and his pals were impatient sometimes!)

I dispensed all the crackers, threw the box away and settled down to watch them.  The seagulls were relentless about stealing crackers just as a goose was about to grab one.  The goose, immediately perturbed, let out a hiss, and arched its neck, and the seagull gave him a look as if to say “you snooze – you lose buddy!”  The ducks were adamant to get their fair share and “ruffled feathers” was the best way to caption this scene.

It was entertaining, and I watched all the rowdy behavior, including a  few daring moves by a rogue swooping seagull.  I ended up leaving the camera protected in its pouch, zipped up in my coat, since they were kicking up the water with their feet and their wings.

Who knew stale crackers were such a treat?

I decided to leave that hullabaloo behind and stroll along the boardwalk.  The water was sparkling and shimmering in the bright sun.  It truly was a beautiful day, despite the 25-degree temperature.

water sparkling by Mud Island

The Detroit River normally has a strong current, but there was not even a ripple in the water, until a pair of swans came onto the scene and parted the surface of the water as they glided by.  One of them seemed to pose for me.  I liked the reflection of this swan’s slender neck in the water.

swan steaming ahead

The seagulls that were not wreaking havoc back at the pavilion area were content to perch on the railing that runs the length of Dingell Park.

seagull on the railing

Sometimes they’d shoot me a steely glance, as if to say “hey, you lookin’ at me?”

seagull what you want

Or maybe it was a coy look … hard to tell.

seagull coy

But, most times those seagulls see me coming, freak out and take off in a blur and are lost in the sky moments later.

seagull freaking out

I really don’t know why they felt threatened by me.  Maybe they are afraid of the red jacket?  Or that Great Blue Heron who lives at Council Point Park warned them about me?

seagull flying away

I know several times I turned around to steal a glance at those seagulls that beat a hasty retreat, and, one by one, they’d returned to their previous positions on the railing, before “The Intruder” happened by.

seagull is she gone

I try not to take it personally.

The pair of swans kept pace with me as I strolled the boardwalk.  They reminded me of the pair from last week when I admired them at Council Point Park.  Every so often one or the other  would pause to rest or take a drink.

I walked to the old boat house and back twice, drinking in the delicious day and enjoying the Park all to myself.  As I neared the pavilion, I saw peace and harmony was restored again, so it was time for a photo session there.

duck paddling

The geese and ducks hung around, probably anticipating a few more handouts, and that was fine, as I got some close-up shots of them.  The water is so clear at this location that you can see the rocks, and, surprisingly, you can see the wide-webbed feet of the various waterfowl as they paddle furiously to stay afloat.

goose webbed feet

Those swans had arrived and melded right in with the rest of the feathered crowd and all of them continued milling around, mixing and mingling, and seemed rather reluctant to leave.

swan by swamp reeds.jpg

Of course, I wished I had brought along more food for them … “next time I’ll bring more, I promise” is what I found myself telling them.  (Good thing I was alone and no one was in earshot of me.)

duck mr and mrs.jpg

duck up high.jpg

I stayed at that venue for about an hour and decided to head over to Council Point Park to get some steps in on the walking path.  I went twice around the entire Park which was four miles.  It is not often I’ll visit there on a weekend and not take a single picture, but this was the case today.  I fed the squirrels, said “hi” to a few folks and kept the camera tucked away.  I saw a hawk crisscrossing the sky overhead, but it was very high up and the image would have been merely a brown blob on a blue canvas.

Five miles walked today and another five miles yesterday – finally, I have walked 100 miles so far in 2018.  I thought I’d never reach this first milestone of the year, but the snow, ice and rain made it difficult to get as many steps in as I would have liked.  I now have 951 more miles to beat last year’s miles walked (1,050) since I always try to beat the prior year by at least one mile.  I’m also lagging behind my car miles driven … I’ve driven 112 miles so far this year in the car, so …

Must. Walk. More.

I thought we were having a great weather week and now I hear we may have another inch or so of snow Monday into Tuesday – enough already!  Winter has us in its grips and refuses to let go while Spring patiently waits in the wings.

So, I lost an hour, but gained some valuable time communing with nature, and it made all the difference in the world on this Sunday.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Taking it in stride.

tree and squirrel in sky

Spring is just ten days from today.

The calendar says it’s so.

But, this morning it seemed a little difficult to think Spring-y thoughts when the temperature was 25 degrees and the north wind was a’ blowin’.

Forget those negative thoughts though, because that bright sunshine sure perked up my spirits and put a spring in my step, the instant I got outside.

Sometimes, as to the subject of Michigan weather, you just have to take it in stride.  Even with Spring around the corner, the weather this time of year is so erratic.  We’ve had snow in April many times.  So, you just have to seize the day and get out and enjoy yourself.

And that’s just what I did.

This morning, the screen door had not even closed, when I noticed an unusual sight in the yard behind my neighbor’s house.  At first, I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks on me?  Was that really a huge rubber ducky visible in the above-ground pool?  Well, yes it was.  That big yellow duck and a handful of pool toys were not bobbing around in the water, but sitting atop the pool liner.  I took a photo of this summery scene, ensuring that snapshot included a wintry scene as well, that swath of snow that still remains on the grass next door.


It was still early as I made my way through the neighborhood to Council Point Park.  I stopped to check how those perky snowdrops were doing, and whether any of them had been smooshed by the icy precip earlier this week – surprisingly, they all still looked good.

We all know, that along with Springtime, comes Spring cleaning, and I noticed even the playhouse at this home was getting aired out.


As I cut through the parking lot to head to the perimeter path, I saw several of the regular walkers that I recognized right away.  They were not close enough to say “hey” or even “Happy New Year!” and, no … I did not know them by their vehicles, nor their puffy jackets or knitted caps, but I knew them by their stride.

Some walkers stride purposely like they are race walking, where others take a more leisurely approach, picking their way along the pathway, stopping to catch the sights and enjoy all the ambiance that this nature nook has to offer.  I am in that latter category, especially on the weekend. when I have more time to take photos and occasionally stop to chitchat.  I’ve also noticed some people keep their arms tucked down by their side, where others bend their elbows, or pump their arms vigorously while walking.  Funny, how one can identify, at a glance, these individual characteristics of the dozen or so folks who regularly walk at the Park during the same time frame as me.  Slowly, but surely, the regular walkers are returning to their morning regimen … perhaps they’ve been mall walking or using a treadmill at home, but, I sense that they, like me, are happy to be back.  Some I’ve not seen since Thanksgiving as we had a big snow event in early December.

As usual, I started in the first loop.  This where all the action is as far as critters and waterfowl.  I stopped only to feed the squirrels, then walked the same loop again, this time with the camera in hand and the bag of peanuts pushed down into my pocket.

I noticed Todd had already discarded his hoodie on a park bench, and it had slipped onto the ground.  He tends to shed his clothing the further he gets into his jogging routine, and, it’s not unusual to see clothes laying on various Park benches, even in the Winter.  He’ll collect them on his last jog around the Park.  I really wasn’t all that warm, but then, I was merely strolling along, not running, and I wasn’t about to shed one iota of my layers of clothing.


In my posts, I’ve been mentioning the thin veil of ice that covers some portions of the Ecorse Creek.  This morning, as I gazed into the water, I thought the sun’s rays made that ice resemble a cracked antique mirror.


I noticed there was still snow in the area where the mute swan and I had our brief visit last week.  There was the blue metal park bench, where I momentarily thought I’d might climb upon to escape that long pointed orange beak if need be.  Luckily those peanuts kept the swan at bay ‘til I could get away.

2-snow from swan.jpg

There were no mute swans today, but I swear there was a speaker system at the Park for the waterfowl and it was set to “high” because the geese were honking so loudly that it sounded like rush hour in the City of Detroit.  Their incessant honking carried into the still-quiet morning and I wandered close to the water to take a gander at those geese.  I must’ve spooked them because about four of them took off in a flurry, leaving two behind wondering if it was something THEY did?  They soothed their wounded feelings by paddling around with a few ducks who were easier to get along with.

5 everbody

The geese were not the only ones that were skittish this morning.  I saw the heron across the Creek.  He was standing on a submerged tree, his neck scrunched down close to his body.  From my vantage point in the bushes, I was able to take a photo of him, though it was not very sharp.

3-heron on log

A second later,  he extended that long neck, and used those spindly legs to switch positions, giving me the cold shoulder.

3-heron turns around

Just as I mused to myself that this heron and I have developed a love-hate relationship, thus I expected him to bolt the first chance he got, there he went … a bluish-gray blur headed down the Ecorse Creek passageway.

Yup, he was probably thinking “well, that will fix you and your picture-taking expedition!”

3-heron flies away

It was a gorgeous day, with the beautiful blue sky, marred by just an occasional cloud.

one cloud

I was enjoying my walk, when Parker, likely having squirreled away some of the peanuts I had given him the first go-around, spied me from high up in the tree, and hurried right down.  I watched him doing some fancy footwork in order to stand on a big knothole, while he pondered whether I might be up for seconds.

6-parker on tree

Yes, I was agreeable and pulled out the bag of peanuts to demonstrate this; he was down to ground level and over by my side in a heartbeat.

I walked a little more and, using a tree for cover, watched a drake and its mate sunbathing on the cement landing.  I got a fuzzy-looking photo, but …

4-sunbathing ducksb

… when I raised my arms to take a better shot, the fabric in my coat rustled and the pair went into a tailspin, quacking their heads off and flew away.  I decided to give the picture-taking a rest and concentrate on just walking the rest of my time at the Park.

I caught up with Joanne, one of the regular walkers, and we walked another loop together and, as we said our goodbyes, I saw the sun had become noticeably absent and the sky was suddenly an angry-looking gray, so I couldn’t help myself and pulled the camera out for one last time.

dark sky


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

As the snow flies.


I suited up for a walk after a quick peek out the front door confirmed there was no snow, despite predictions for more of the white stuff.  So, I got ready in record time, grabbed the camera and peanuts, then laced up my hiking boots, only to open the door about twenty minutes later and discover delicate snowflakes twinkling down from the sky.  “You’ve got to be kidding!” I said to no one in particular.  I could have just thrown on half of what I was wearing and slipped into my shoes to run the car a few minutes, then scurry back into the house.  So, I grumbled a bit more and decided all the effort in anticipation of a walk would not be for naught.

Going to Council Point Park from my house is a rather convoluted jaunt.  There are twists and turns in the road, so that wending my way down through the neighborhoods to the beginning of the walking trail is nearly a mile, according to the pedometer.  Maybe it’s shorter as the crow flies, but it’s impossible to make a straight run there, as there are several dead end roads. Google maps will tell you it is a .8 mile-long trip, but that’s just to reach River Drive, and then you have to hike clear across the large parking lot, then past the pavilion area, before you even get to the start of the walking path.  It’s worth the trip, but I didn’t want to get there and have to cut my walk short like yesterday.

Along the way, the intensity of the snowflakes picked up with most of them settling neatly into the cracks in the sidewalks, but it wasn’t slippery, so I continued on.  Once at the Park, I noticed the snowflakes had similarly drifted and settled into cracks in the asphalt, or formed a white outline along the path itself.  I was glad I didn’t turn back – a few snow flurries and no worries.

It was a little blustery and the temperature was 28 degrees.  Despite the cold, Parker and his pals were back and I doled out peanuts and sweet-talked them a little, then gently chastised the whole bunch for being lazy and staying up in their respective nests yesterday.  Unfortunately, my words fell on deaf ears because as soon as the peanuts were scattered on the ground, the squirrels glommed onto them and I moved on.

I saw a half-dozen Canada geese grazing, and, I would not have even noticed them, since their brownish/gray plumage blends right into the drab and blah landscape at the Park right now.  What I did see was those sleek black heads bobbing up and down as they grazed on grass with their brethren.  Just like yesterday, those geese were keeping a low profile and they paid me no mind as I strolled by them.

Today, the ducks were making a racket with their quacking, which, since the Park is so peaceful in the early morning, the cacophony of duck chatter and quacks tends to echo throughout the narrow Ecorse Creek passage.

Sometimes it even sounds like raucous laughter to me.


Not all mallards were creating a stir, however.


Some were placidly paddling along, sometimes dipping their beaks or submerging their heads in the icy-cold water.


Occasionally, one duck would go vertical, and all you saw was tail feathers sticking out of the water.  Obviously the cold water holds much appeal for them.  I felt a shiver rack my body while watching those ducks, despite my having donned nine pieces of clothing to go on this walk.

The mallards are welcome to their icy dip – I know for them, it’s all that it is quacked up to be.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments