Bunnies and Duckies and …

… Nuttin’ Honeys – OH MY!

Hits and misses.

Up until Labor Day I hadn’t taken more than a handful of photos at my favorite nature nook, Council Point Park, after inundating you with images charting the goslings’ growth from nursery to teenagers back in the Spring. The truth is, nothing much has been happening. As hot as it was this Summer, I was sure I’d be sharing shots galore of “splooting” squirrels long before now, but, believe it or not, I never saw a single “splooter” until Labor Day weekend. More about those splooters later.

As mentioned in my prior post back in the Spring, once the goslings were old enough, they followed their parents, paddling down to the Detroit River, as the adults gathered in the water, safe from predators, while awaiting the growth of their flight feathers. The molting process takes several months from the time we first saw large quilled feathers laying around the perimeter path, until the parents return in early September with their new flight feathers and their offspring who are now young geese. During the lengthy absence of the geese, it is poop-free and drama-free along the perimeter path from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I find it odd, that “our geese” remain MIA, having not returned to their home turf and now a homeowner who lives on the fringe of the Park has stopped providing dishpans of water and corn for the geese and other critters.

After Harry the Heron wowed me (and you too) with his fishing prowess back in the Spring, he has similarly been missing. Is it a big-time attitude on his part, or the fishing has not been great at the cement landing? I beg to differ about the fish biting as Jacob and his little lady friend, that sweet toddler, have been fishing on multiple occasions this Summer at that location, she with her dark sunglasses and fishing rod in hand, a rubber worm dangling from a string (no hook) and Jacob unhooking shad and pitching them back into the murky waters of the Ecorse Creek.

I did see a Great Egret, first time ever, fishing at the other side of the Park.

Even the turtles have not been sunbathing on the fallen logs, ready to plop into the water as soon as they see the whites of my eyes – truthfully, it’s been a rather unremarkable Summer.

I didn’t know what to make of the absence of the regular critters – hopefully climate change is not wreaking havoc on my slice of paradise, as I shudder when I see the huge patches of algae bloom and green gook on the surface of the Ecorse Creek after multiple bouts of very hot and humid weather.

But some critters showed up to provide a photo op over Labor Day weekend. Below are a few of them.

Bunnies

I saw this Cottontail Rabbit pawing the dry grass and then digging a hole. I wondered if she had a nest of babies. After taking these pictures, I looked every time I passed by that spot and she was gone, but I found no babies, so I figure she was channeling the squirrels’ zeal about storing peanuts for Winter. I contemplated using the bunny for a Wordless Wednesday post and entitling it “social media be like going down that ol’ rabbit hole.”

Duckies ….

I follow a few non-profit animal sites on Facebook, one which is the Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary.  I began following this worthy organization in South Lyon, Michigan where Matt and his wife Theresa, plus a team of volunteers, will go anywhere, at any time of the day/night to rescue waterfowl, mostly ducks.  The Sanctuary is a big barn and pond and home to hundreds of waterfowl, mostly those born with birth defects, or wounded and sadly, domestic ducks that are tossed out like yesterday’s trash when they have grown out of their cute duckling stage. 

I learned about Matt and Theresa’s sanctuary after two large, light-brown ducks were nuzzling my knees for treats as I made my way along the perimeter path back in December 2019.  I took pictures and sent them to Matt and he told me they were domestic Khaki Campbell ducks and obviously abandoned.  He told me to call him immediately the next time I saw them and someone would come rescue them.  I never saw them again and worried for their welfare throughout that bitter cold Winter. 

I also reached out to Matt after our duckling rescue from the sewer last year when Mama Mallard waddled off without counting her ducklings and one was still squeaking and peeping in the sewer.  After this duckling’s eventual rescue, Matt was happy to take this little girl and a volunteer came to pick her up.

So, while I walked around the perimeter path on Labor Day weekend, it piqued my interest why a young man was sitting on a park bench, lost in thought, a blue tub nearby and a pair of oversized ducks waddling around him.  I suspected he was not taking his ducks on an outing, but was preparing to leave them there.  Should I approach him and tell him about Matt?  I knew I should not assume anything, nor did I want to insult him by suggesting he would abandon these ducks.  The young man left the park bench and walked along the pathway, his ducks waddling behind him, clearly enjoying their outing and happy for the change of pace.  People were whipping out their phones as he walked by, snapping shots of the ducks, me included.  I stopped him and asked what their names were – the Rouen (brown female) was Maria and the Blue Swedish Duck (large gray/white/black male) was Benjamin.  He told me he had to get rid of these ducks which were pets that he had since they were ducklings, because neighbors were complaining of the noise and mess.  I gave him Matt’s contact info and he pulled up the site on his phone.  He said he thought of taking them to the Petting Farm at Heritage Park, but had not yet made up his mind.  They followed him to the parking lot and he placed them carefully into the tub.  I’ll have some pictures of those happy-go-lucky ducks for Wordless Wednesday.

I sent Matt a Facebook message and the ducks’ photos and asked him to let me know if/when they were at his place – not yet as of this writing and I stopped at Heritage Park last weekend, but they are not there yet either.

Thankfully my Nuttin’ Honeys are still there … as is Mr. Hawk, a fact which disturbs me greatly. 

Henry, one of the regular walkers, stopped to tell me he saw a huge hawk swoop down one morning and three squirrels ran for their lives successfully evading the raptor. I caution my little buddies to watch their backs and stay under the pavilion or Safe Haven Tree or to dash into the bushes where I leave a pile of sunflower seeds and peanuts nearby, but, because they are already in gathering-and-burying mode as to any peanuts doled out, who am I to suggest that running clear across the grassy “donut hole” to bury a peanut for Winter, rather than enjoying it on the spot, is not a great idea due to the watchful eyes of Mr. Hawk?

I hope to never see a hawk snatch up a squirrel in its talons.

I wanted to take pictures of the Safe Haven Tree as the branches almost hit the ground. To me, it seems like a little fortress – it is impenetrable to raptors like the hawk. The Jays, Chickadees, Cardinals and Woodpeckers land up top, then hop down to gorge on treats.

For me, that convenient side opening, allows my easy access to make the “drop” and scurry out again. I did not take pruning shears with me – it just happened to grow like that with an opening. Once under the canopy of the tree, look inside how roomy this area is, just waiting for hungry birds and squirrels to dine.

Soon, the leaves will begin to turn and fall leaving the tree bare, but its sturdy branches will still tickle the ground and no hawk is going to go inside.

The moderate drought we had for most of July rendered the grass yellow and crispy to walk on. Just like the yellow-toned grass, the rest of the landscape has been a bit wishy-washy and devoid of color. The few Spring Beauties wildflowers I photographed under the trees that line the Ecorse Creek are long gone and Chicory …

… complemented by Queen Anne’s Lace have taken its place.

The Goldenrod lights up the pathway with splashes of color and the Sumac leaves along the Creek side of the Park were blotchy red in spots with the bright-red flower springing out of the leaves – that was it for color.

There were less thistles this year which translated to less goldfinches flitting around. I missed their cheery song. Even Rex-the Red-bellied Woodpecker has been scarce and I suspect he’s happier to see me when his live grubs are no longer available, so peanuts, sunflower seeds, even woodpecker suet will become his go-to treat once again.

Nuttin’ Honeys

A black squirrel scurried across the field and I shoved my hand into the peanut bag to call out to him, then jiggled a few peanuts in my palm. But my little pal rebuffed me and got a firmer grip on a black walnut still in the husk that he clenched between his teeth.

I only learned about these “tree treats” a few years ago and still don’t know what Park tree tenders these squirrel goodies. I do see piles of green on the trail where squirrels have chewed off the rind to get the prize nut inside. So, this black squirrel saw me and realized it should take its prize “to go” lest I try to grab it. I was only interested in grabbing a photo and waited patiently for that squirrel to settle into the tree to chomp on the treat. I liked what I saw.

But, after he finished that walnut, he was looking for peanuts and sunflower seeds, as you see below as he shimmies down the tree …

Below, a Robin suddenly appeared (looking almost like a ghostly apparition). It seemed inquisitive while wondering “is Linda passing out worms today?”

An Eastern Gray squirrel decided going headfirst down the tree could guarantee a peanut for its effort.

I brought along some whole almonds – I’d rather not break my teeth on them; the squirrels grow new teeth all the time. They were given the sniff test, then promptly scarfed down.

Yellow Poplar leaves litter the perimeter path. Falling face down, they remind me of little hearts. But these little hearts have jagged tears in them – climate change infiltrating my little nature nook? It seems crumpled Poplar leaves as early as mid-August have become the norm now. Remember that I have been walking here for a decade, so have become accustomed to seeing which trees drop their leaves first.

Just one picture of a young Fox squirrel – you can tell the young squirrels from their skinny tails. If you ever saw a picture of a “kit” or baby squirrel, they are just about an inch long, weighing one ounce with a skinny tail that resembles a mouse tail. Mom nurtures her hairless, pink babies who have their eyes closed for about two months. So these little guys are easy to recognize. I think Mom tells them the “safe humans” to approach and I feel honored they finally approach me after turning back initially. They know I am not the lady who walks around with a golf club if any squirrel gets near her. I’ve remarked to her that the squirrels mean no harm and are simply begging for peanuts as people indulge them, but I am insulted for my thoughts, so happily I have only seen her once this season.

I will be writing a separate post about a baby squirrel here at Council Point Park, an event that occupied my thoughts on the Friday before the Labor Day holiday and Saturday as well. I took a slew of photos and there will be a tale to be told, with videos from a fellow walker, so that will be next Monday’s post. Well, I saved the best for last – the splooting squirrels. It was very hot over Labor Day weekend and several squirrels were stretched out, like frogs, letting the cool asphalt path or grass cool down their little bodies. I admit the first time I saw this happen a few years ago, it was disturbing.

Hope you enjoyed this potpourri of Park photos taken over Labor Day weekend

Posted in nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Cheep and kitschy digs #Wordless Wednesday #House Sparrow

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, birds, nature | Tagged , , , , , | 46 Comments

Say “Sayonara” to Summer with Sunflowers.

Just two more days until Summer wraps up and we venture into Autumn.

This trip to the Emily Frank Gardens at the Trenton Cultural Center on July 31st was probably one of the shortest walks at a venue that I’ve taken, then blogged about. But, rest assured, after capturing about 200 images at the Gardens, I headed to Lake Erie Metropark, then Elizabeth Park, aiming to walk more miles and make the most of my day before my self-imposed month of errands, etc. that would occupy my August agenda.

I had seen photos of the Gardens and Cultural Center previously on social media and put it on my list of “places to visit sometime” and then, after I began following Facebook posts by the plein air painting group in the Spring, this was one of the venues they visited. A few group members painted the big red barn with its whimsical wall and nearby Children’s Garden. It looked like a fun place so I stopped there on June 18th to check it out.

The Gardens was a beehive of activity, even in the early morn. I met Debbie Barnes and many of her slew of volunteers a/k/a “Garden Angels” that maintain the Emily Frank Gardens PLUS the 300-plant pollinator gardens at MacArthur Park a mile or so down the road. A couple of the volunteers were headed to MacArthur Park for gardening chores and said “come, check it out!” Another volunteer responded to my “oohs and aahs” while I picked my way along the mulched paths, carefully stepping over garden hoses, saying“you absolutely have to return later in the Summer when the Gardens are in full bloom!”

So I did and will likely scrap the June 18th photos in favor of those taken when the blooms were at their peak.

As I drove to the Gardens, I wondered if there would be sunflowers and assumed, given the heat, humidity and occasional copious bouts of rain, that there would be an abundance of sunflowers to photograph and the Gardens did not disappoint.

Maybe a Bummer Summer for us, but the Sunflowers were Sunsational!

So, that is the backstory on why I found myself on July 31st strolling around the Emily Frank Gardens, the only flower-loving soul there, (unless you want to count “Golden Boy” my little male Goldfinch, who was not keen on posing in or on the sunflowers, preferring instead to play hide-and-go-seek with me most of the time I was there).

Yes, Debbie Barnes was right – it was an entirely different landscape, “carpeted” with bright flowers everywhere. Garden ornaments were at every twist and turn on the mulched and paved paths: stone children with arms or wheelbarrows filled with flowers, makeshift receptacles brimming with bright blooms – even birdbaths spilling vines as a few butterflies and bees flitted about. I truly didn’t know where to look first. I will wait until the coldest and ugliest days in Winter to create a post with these bountiful blooms and will wow you with them then.

But in the interim, though we have waved “hi” and “bye” to the Harvest Moon, Autumn décor abounds and pumpkin treats have been eyed or snatched up, a beautiful reminder of Summer’s endless sunny days are the perpetually happy-looking sunflowers.

Here are my favorite shots from that morning, some sunflowers still in progress, others already bowing their heads as they were so laden with seeds. I have interspersed some photos of the Goldfinch who dived in and out of the blooms in search of seeds to nibble on. He was, at times, elusive and I think thought I was a bit of a pain to intrude upon his breakfast ritual.

A little birdie suggested I share some shots of his home at the whimsical Children’s Garden at Emily Frank Gardens and so I will do so for this Wordless Wednesday. (Fellow blogger Jeanine will love it as it’s kitschy.)

Posted in Flowers, nature, Seasons | Tagged , , , | 61 Comments

The chatterbox.  #Wordless Wednesday  #Listening is a virtue. #Barn Swallows

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, birds, nature | Tagged , , , | 56 Comments

Stirring the Memory Pot – A spot of tea.

I’m going to stray from the beaten path just a little today for this Grandparents Day post. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you long ago learned that I have plenty good to write about my beloved grandmother, but nothing good to say about my grandfather. He was ornery and cantankerous and completely devoid of personality – not the kind of grandfather who wanted you to sit in his lap and read you a book. When I was a child he said I was stupid because my pronunciation of French words I learned in grade school was incorrect and unlike his Quebecois pronunciation. He was born in Quebec and lived there until moving to Toronto as an adult and he spoke fluent French. After calling me stupid, I simply slid down off my chair and bit him on the ankle, like I was the family dog who was ticked off because it begged for food at the table and was rebuffed. He let out a yelp and swore, then said I should be punished. My grandmother found the incident amusing – my parents not so much.

I actually had a post bubbling around in my brain, complete with photos, that I planned to write yesterday for Grandparents Day. But then Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday. I felt sad to hear of her passing and, in the past few days, I have been engrossed in watching several retrospectives of her life and read a lot of heartfelt comments about her extraordinary 70-year reign. Many of the comments from around the world were from folks that wrote or said that “her passing was like losing a grandmother.” I took those comments to heart and yesterday decided to change the subject of today’s planned post – it is evergreen and will keep until next year.

In writing about the late Queen Elizabeth and today’s subject of tea, this post is the perfect opportunity to share the video of Her Majesty and Paddington Bear and their tea party during this Summer’s Jubilee celebration. Click here – it is guaranteed to bring you a smile. I first saw this video after fellow blogger Hugh Roberts and I were discussing our teddy bear collection and he sent me the video, which has gained more popularity following the Queen’s death when Paddington Bear tweeted this simple message:

Looking back a little … okay, more than a few decades.

As most of you know, I am a Canadian citizen who lived in that country until my parents and I moved here when I was 10 years old. In the five years I attended elementary school in Canada, my classmates and I had a daily morning ritual after the school bell rang. We stood up straight, faced the Union Jack flag (and later, after 1965, Canada’s own Maple leaf flag), then we sang “God Save the Queen” our young voices echoing through the halls of E.A. Orr Elementary School.

Yes, the British influence upon Canada was very much a part of my childhood.

I saw a lot of people curtsying to the Queen in the videos I watched and, like every little Canadian girl, I learned to curtsy back in the day. My mom, due to orthopedic issues from being hit by a car at age 11, could not bend her knees to squat down, nor to curtsy, but she wanted her little girl to be the epitome of genteel, so she recruited my grandmother to show me. Nanny, as I called my grandmother, with her arthritic knees, made a clumsy attempt to teach me, almost falling to the ground in a heap amid some giggles on my part (and hers as well). I remember that tutorial like it was yesterday. So, I learned and practiced my newfound skill and made everyone proud, picking up the sides of my dress and executing the perfect petite curtsy, but to this day I have never curtsied to anyone, though I may have taken a bow after an accordion recital or two.

Last year for Grandparents Day I wrote about how my grandmother brought me presents of lavender as a preteen, so that I also might enjoy that scent as much as she did. Yardley’s of London Lavender soap, bath salts and toilet water permeated my grandmother’s bedroom and bath and even today, lavender is a scent I will always associate with Nanny. However, the preteen Linda, was not so enamored with smelling like potpourri. I politely accepted her gifts, never once hinting that I did not surround myself in a vapor or cloud of lavender scent. After all, I only saw my grandmother four or five times a year when we made the 500-mile round trip from our house to Toronto after moving to Michigan.

Drinking tea is just “not my cup of tea” as the saying goes.

When I got older, my always-thoughtful, tea-drinking grandmother decided it was time to start me on a collection of bone china teacups. I received my first teacup one Christmas and then the next teacup for my birthday.

Perhaps, while sipping her own mug of tea, Nanny pictured her granddaughter sipping tea and eating dainty cakes, or lost in thought like the young woman in the painting by Daniel F. Gerhartz found on Pinterest and pictured in the header image.

Each teacup gift was wrapped in a layers of tissue paper in a fancy-schmancy box and adorned with a ribbon. There were, of course, no instructions on how to enjoy this gift, nothing like this meme found on Twitter.

Again, I never would have hurt Nanny’s feelings, but truly, this gal was not the prim-and-proper, crumpets-with-tea type. First, I loathe tea and even struggle to swallow green tea which I only drink because it is good for you.

My “cuppa” preference is a strong cup of joe, with some flavored caramel-vanilla creamer in it … now that’s my treat. And, I prefer to drink it in a mug as you see those flowered and teddy bear cups flanking the tea cups.

Of course, writing about these teacups and how they have been stacked in the cupboard over the fridge for decades, unused (and seemingly unloved), makes me sound like an ingrate, which I’m not. Nanny stopped buying me teacups, perhaps because my mom said I didn’t use them and was saving them for “good” but every so often I open the cupboard and look at them.

I have mused about making them into bird feeders like I saw on Pinterest. Now THAT is more my style and I am sure my grandmother, similarly a nature and flower lover would approve.

Here are some photos below of her flowers and plants, her pride and joy for many years. My grandmother was famous for visiting a friend, swiping a “slip” of a houseplant on the sly and tucking it into her purse to start her own plant at home. She’d often tote along a wet Kleenex in a plastic bag in her purse, then she’d stick that slip of green into a glass of water and soon it would take root and flourish. In some of these old pictures I wonder if a few of those houseplants on her back porch and/or trailing vines at 24 St. Clarens Avenue (all the B&W pics) were once slips slyly gleaned from friends. When my grandparents moved up the street to 86 St. Clarens Avenue years later, there was still a garden, but houseplants filled the back kitchen instead of the back porch. Her Christmas Cactus was huge and graced an old Singer treadle sewing machine.

Minnie Goddard – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto
(date unknown)
Pauline Schaub (nee Goddard) – back garden at
24 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (date unknown)
Omer Goddard – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto
(date unknown)
Linda Schaub – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue (1957)
Linda Schaub – back garden at 24 St. Clarens Avenue (1957)
Minnie Goddard – Irises, backyard at 86 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (1985)
Minnie Goddard and me – Hollyhocks, backyard at 86 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto (1984)
Hollyhocks close-up, one of Nanny’s favorite flowers.

Yes, Minnie Goddard did enjoy her flowers.

Happy Grandparents Day to you if this applies!

Posted in Memories | Tagged , , , | 62 Comments

Splish-splash, I was taking a bath ….  #Wordless Wednesday  #Double-Crested Cormorant a/k/a “The Flasher”

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature | Tagged , , | 47 Comments

And just like that …

(snapping fingers), the unofficial end of Summer has arrived. Does it seem like we just heralded the gateway to Summer on Memorial Day weekend, or are you just done with Summer?

MOST people around the world griped about the Summer of 2022, (Yours Truly included), even though, in the depths of Winter ‘21-‘22, while bundling up to head outside, I swore I would not utter a single complaint, even if I sizzled like bacon on the griddle some mornings when I left for my walk. Of course those affirmations were made long before it was non-stop heat and humidity. Here in Southeast Michigan it felt like the Dog Days of Summer, that 40-day period stretching from July 3rd to August 11th, long before those Dog Days arrived.

Summer was one hot mess!

We experienced our first of 15 days of 90+-degree F (32 C) days on June 21st. We were forewarned …

… but then it was like it was the celebration of the year. Ugh.

There were a plethora of storms and a new weather vocabulary word for me: “gustnado” which I learned is not a new weather term or a made-up word which sounds like some some type of heavy-duty toilet bowl cleaner. Instead, a gustnado is a surface vortex created from a downburst that develops from a thunderstorm.

Oh – okay, now something else to worry about along with its cousins the derechos and tornados. The severe weather that parts of Michigan experienced a week ago today lasted only a few minutes, but packed a punch. It was attributed to a gustnado, which knocked out power to 300,000 homes and businesses and 3,300 power lines fell. The lines were the first order of business for our energy provider DTE to tackle, then the power issues. A few coolish days post-storm made it somewhat bearable for those folks, then the temps and humidity ramped up again by week’s end.

Sometimes in Summer ’22 we had all day rain/storms – good for parched lawns anyway.

In lamenting over the weather, I heard a factoid about our nation’s weather that bears sharing: the number of extreme heat days have tripled since the 80s and this extreme weather is expected to continue.

What the heck happened to those pleasant Summer days the entire season when I was growing up? We never had more than a fan in the house, then added a window air conditioner in the den/TV room in the late ’60s, followed by central air conditioning in 1975. My mom used to talk about the Summer Heat Wave of July 1936 when temps across North America soared to 105 F to 110 F daily (40 C to 43 C), only dipping down to the mid-90s at night, for 23 days. Mom said they had one small table fan and the family would gather around it, but on workday evenings, all the neighborhood men took a pillow and blanket to Toronto’s Sunnyside Park to ensure they got a good night’s sleep as they all worked in manufacturing jobs, in large plants, with not so much as a fan to cool the workers off. The refreshing breezes off Lake Ontario ensured a somewhat restful night’s sleep. My mom and my grandmother slept on the front porch to catch a breeze.

In retrospect, though we have enjoyed a few stellar weather weekends, the nicest days often occurred on weekdays. At times it was as if Mother Nature decided to penalize us for those weekday respites from the heat and humidity, by giving us crummy days on the weekends. What’s up with that anyway? Many times the morning meteorologist quipped “folks, this is a good day to play hooky from work or school if you can do so.” He’d follow that statement up with “folks, the weekend weather won’t be terrible, but be prepared for splash-and-dash showers and keep an eye to the sky.”

Suffice it to say Summer wore out its welcome with me!

So what else was bugging you in this topsy-turvy Summer of 2022?

Many of us simply stayed put and did not bug out due to inflation, high gas prices and/or erratic weather which may have tabled those plans until 2023. Meanwhile we just sucked it up, dealt with “air you could wear” and heat so intense that the a meme suggested you could bake lasagna in your mailbox.

Now, as the sun sleeps in longer and Poplar leaves litter the path at Council Point, we begin a slow transition to what we hope will be a fantastic Fall (fingers crossed).

My grocery store is in Autumn mode with mums and pepper plants gracing the entrance to the store. They also had ornamental pepper plants which made me think of my mom as we always had one in the kitchen once Fall arrived. Inside the store, while it is too early for humungous orange gourds, it IS time for pumpkin and spice and everything nice … even PSC. So what is PSC you ask? Would Special K® Pumpkin Spice Crunch call your name when you walked by the cereal aisle?

So did you fulfill any of the Summer Bucket List of Items you dreamed about in those coldest and crummiest days of Winter, not to mention that Spring laced with icy precip?

Or did gas prices and inflation table those dreams until 2023? With the advent of Labor Day comes a wee chill in the area, a different angle of the sun and the sun is sleeping in later. Maybe you’ll get ‘er done now.

While we all might welcome cardigan weather, will you miss the butterflies, bees and blooms? Some of the butterflies have already departed saying “we’re outta here” and off they go, winging their way to warm climes on sadly tattered wings.

The hummingbirds are similarly Googling flight plans to take them South and fueling up at every nectar station they can find. The bees are sipping natural nectar, embracing the beautiful blooms as much as we humans do.

Flowers like these at the Tribute Garden at Fair Lane, the home of Clara and Henry Ford, bloomed profusely thanks to those bees …

… but beautiful flowers aside, Autumn, with its crisp air, great smells and colorful foliage beckons me like a magnet.

Plusses and minuses.

I think the ever-present heat and humidity kept the chalk artists inside. I found this gem on the Bishop Park Boardwalk one morning, a message that brought a …

… to my face on a wicked hot day.

Since there was no abundance of chalk art, I was forced to create my own as you see near the end of this post.

I had to really bulk up the miles in August, now there are less minutes to get those miles walked these days. So, by Labor Day, the weekend that commemorates the 11th anniversary of my walking regimen, yes, I know the drill. Walk, walk, walk … then walk some more. Pardon the appearance of my walking shoes. I had to walk on someone’s lawn as there had been a water main break and I sunk down into mud. I do have new shoes waiting in the wings, just too lazy to stop, dig ’em out and lace them. I need to get them broken in before dew-slickened leaves and black ice arrive.

However, the month of August I designated as errands month. A couple of doctor’s appointments, but mostly, like my squirrel pals who are stashing peanuts and black walnuts in hidey holes for Winter, I similarly was out buying pantry items then scratching my head where to put everything. Instant clutter, but no running around in ice and snow either, so that’s a great trade-off. Then the car had a minor blip, a leak, which made me reluctant to go anywhere this holiday weekend. So I took a slew of photos Friday and Saturday to fill some upcoming posts with some squirrel, duck and rabbit frivolity at my favorite nature nook, Council Point Park. Thus, I made no long trips to parks from August 1st and through Labor Day. Focus, focus, focus … now I’m free and can go on long treks through the cooler September and October months and enjoy the Fall foliage. Maybe now I can look at all the photos I’ve taken on big treks in the month of July – they are still on the camera card.

Goals … yep, I’ve made a few in 2022.

As to walking, my mini goal was to reach 999 of my 1,256 miles (2,022 km) by Labor Day and happily it was mission accomplished. My second goal was to reach 9,999 miles on my 2009 Buick LaCrosse by year end. Well, we are still gettin’ there in that regard as I tootle along. This photo was taken a few weeks ago:

That was a personal goal in response to fellow bloggers Ruth and JP kidding me about reaching 9,999 car miles by year end, when a photo of my odometer back in January, (which I intended to show how cold it was in the car by the Detroit River), also showed my low mileage.

So these are my stats as of September 4, 2022 and I’m about par with my 2021 walking stats. I hope to make it … I have 119 days left to fulfill both goals.

Have a safe Labor Day.

Posted in holiday, Labor Day, nature, Seasons, walk, walking, | Tagged , , , , , , | 80 Comments

Catching 40 winks.  #Wordless Wednesday  #Mallard at the marsh.

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature | Tagged , , , , | 61 Comments

Trapper’s Run Nature Trail Trek.

This is part two of my very looooong walk taken at Lake Erie Metropark on June 18th. Part one was last Monday’s post.

I figured I was on a roll that day … you will recall that just about the time I was ready to head to the car and drive to the other side of this very large park, I encountered the Sandhill Cranes, then, still on a high from that meet-up, I saw the trio of does. Well, what else would I see today?

Buoyed by my early morning good fortune, I decided to try a trail I’ve snubbed since I began walking at this park in 2018. I didn’t turn my nose up at the trail because it was only a mere mile long from start to finish. In fact, I’ve started on that trail several times, but turned back, as all too soon the woodland area was thick, raggedy-looking, with grass instead of a mulched or pea-gravel path and it was buggy. Because Michigan has had tick infestation and mosquito-borne illness issues the last three or four years, why tempt fate?

But this time I ventured forth because, like many of you, here in SE Michigan we were in moderate drought, having not had rain for weeks. I was wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, so I was game to give it a try – just this once.

The Metroparks have lots of signage, not only for the length of the trail, but also what conditions you will encounter. The “you are here” sign that greeted me as I began my trek is pictured above.

I was in the shade when I took the photo of the trail signage, so I’ll transcribe the conditions of this trail below:

“Trapper’s Run Trail is the main trail leading from the museum. This loop explores a dense hawthorn thicket and man-made features of the lowland landscape. A series of five overlooks provide an opportunity to peek into the surrounding marshlands. Take your time as you walk the old trapper’s route between the lagoons. This trail is mostly flat with eight shallow transitions between boardwalk and gravel trail.”

There was a map showing the location of the five overlooks, the first which is by the boat shed near Luc’s enclosure. I took a photo of the map so I could I.D. the overlooks later if necessary.

I set out with no reservations … after all, the wooded area did not appear to be all that dense and lagoons and outlooks meant open areas. “You worry unnecessarily Linda” I told myself.

BUT, within minutes of starting on Trapper’s Run, I was inside a dense wooded area … my radar went up. I knew I would not lose my way on a one-mile route which had markers, but it seemed pretty desolate to me. Having endured the fiasco of getting lost on a hot August day for many hours in the middle of Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Interpretive Preserve back in 2020, I was not about to get embedded on some secluded trail.

Hmm – it seemed as quickly as I found myself in a dense part of the trail, with little or no view of the sky, I rounded the bend to find another wooden outlook. As mentioned above, there were five outlooks in total and, though I climbed onto each one and took photos, essentially the views were similar of the marsh and lagoon. I scrapped most of those photos once I saw them on the screen as they all looked about the same, but here are a few views.

At times, the trail became open, sunlight streaming overhead, with a grassy pathway and the occasional park bench with overgrown weeds alongside it.

Then, once again, the trail disappeared into a dense forest area. I recognized the call of a Nuthatch and searched for it. It was creeping down the tree headfirst as a White-Breasted Nuthatch usually does.

I also saw a Goldfinch, though the lighting was not stellar here.

In the heart of this trek, near the Hawthorn thicket area, I found some interesting-looking fungi.

It was a little desolate so I picked up the pace. Suddenly I saw a petite blonde woman with an extremely long camera lens pointed toward a bird high up in a tree.

I was glad to see her and told her so. We exchanged names. Danielle had a Southern accent and told me she had moved up here to Michigan recently and, in a soft voice said “no worries – I walk Trapper’s Run nearly every day – it is safe.” I said “good – I am always very wary of my surroundings.” (Postscript – it is not my overactive imagination or that I am a worrywart – a few days later, in another county, a woman walking alone on a trail in a wooded area encountered a man who exposed himself. When she screamed and attempted to run away, he blocked her path. This was not the first time this man has done this in other parks, but I digress.)

I similarly gazed up at the tree, and asked “what are you watching up there?” She responded “a Baltimore Oriole that keeps turning its back to me.” I quipped “I thought that just happened to me.” I got a giggle for that comment and we stood there companionably, cameras trained on this beautiful orange and black bird. In the dim light, I strained my eyes to not only see the bird, but photograph it. It was not on my Birdie Bucket List, but was a welcome first sighting for me. These photos don’t do it justice.

We both decided to move along and I was delighted she was going the same direction as me.

Danielle said her favorite part of the trail was the Riley Creek Overlook and it was ahead. We veered off the trail to the right to check it out. I was impressed the Trapper’s Run trail managed to pack a lot of attractions into a one-mile hike. As we got closer I saw the overlook jutting out over the water, essentially a pier with no railings at all. By now there was a good breeze blowing and it was welcome as I’d been walking for many hours by that time. I never wear a watch on the weekend, as I am a slave to the time for my weekday jaunts, but I knew it had to be near noon.

Danielle and I walked together onto the pier – what a great view and no other humans, just an egret and a heron.

We spooked the heron and she pointed “look at it heading up to the tree!”

A few minutes later, the egret followed suit to join its pal in the tree.

But, best buds or not, the egret was bored and flew back down a short time later …

… then circled around Riley Creek Overlook a few times …

… finally skidding to a stop on the top of the water. Pretty fancy footwork, huh?

The egret seemed skittish and took off again. I wished it was closer as most of these shots were far away.

The egret and heron had their own agenda and it didn’t include us, so we decided to finish up the walk. Danielle had an appointment and I had a long walk back to my car on the other side of the park and it was now very warm.

I (finally) made it back to the car and driving out of Lake Erie Metropark, a huge shadow crossed over my car – it was one of the nesting pair of Ospreys who live at the nearby fire station. That’s fodder for another post as this one is already long and picture laden.

Posted in nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , | 105 Comments

Sandhill Cranes at Lake Erie Metropark  #Wordless Wednesday  #The Three Musketeers

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , , | 61 Comments