This is how to cool off quickly!

We’re in the midst of a wicked heat wave – throughout the holiday weekend, temps sizzled like a firecracker. I hope we don’t need a whopper storm to break the heat.

I visited Lake Erie Metropark a couple of weekends ago and while meandering through the marsh and across a wooden overlook, I heard a lot of splishing and splashing. But, it wasn’t these Mallards. It was a pair of good-sized carp chasing one another. I hung around for a while, hoping for a photo op as they played tag – it is spawning season, but they weren’t in the mood for posing I guess.

Now, while I was disappointed I never got any shots of the carp, from my vantage point I was lucky enough to see this group of playful Mallards, all with brown plumage. What I couldn’t figure out, however, was if the showoff above was Mama and the other slightly smaller ducks were her nearly grown offspring? Then again, perhaps the ducks were all girlfriends hanging out together at the ol’ swimming hole – you know “a girl’s morning out?”

Perhaps you can enlighten me?

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Happy 4th of July!

The day was crisp and clear at Elizabeth Park – just look at that bright blue sky! The wind was clipping along with great gusto. Each gust had the flag whipping and flipping around, causing it to rise and fall intermittently. So, I decided the images of the flag would make a good Fourth of July post – after all, 2020 has sure not been normal, so why should this flag be any different?

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

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Excuse me … I’ll just be bold and ask: “did you bring me treats?”

Even more kindred souls walk amongst us

As promised, I have just a few more tales I’ve been collecting about animal/human interactions, like this story my friend Ann Marie shared with me recently.

You may recall, I was appalled (and even joked a little) about the swan parents taking the “sink or swim kid” attitude with their cygnet while riding the wild waves at the Detroit River. However, I was quick to praise the efforts of the geese and ducks in taking care of their young. Sadly, as wonderful as Nature is sometimes, there are often occurrences that make you stop, take note, then shake your head in disbelief.

Really … who would harm, or push away, a sweet duckling?

Thanks to a fuzzy, brown-and-black Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar, I met my good friend Ann Marie at Council Point Park back in September 2014. We struck up a conversation as she watched me studying a Woolly Bear caterpillar that was inching across the perimeter path. I was pondering whether its markings meant we’d have a cold and brutal Winter. Nothing scientific there; I was merely following the folklore of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and yes, we had a bad Winter because of the caterpillar’s coloring. Okay, maybe there were other circumstances too, but …. FYI: if the caterpillar’s rusty brown band is wide, then it will be a mild Winter. The more black there is, the more severe the Winter.

Ann Marie walks past a pond on her daily walk. The same day she read my post about the Mama Duck and her ten ducklings, she also saw a Mom Mallard with her ten ducklings in tow. But sadly, just two days later there were only five ducklings trailing behind their Mama. Ann Marie wondered and worried if the other five ducklings fell prey to a predator near the pond. A few days later, in her morning jaunt past the pond, she noticed one baby duckling suddenly appeared, all alone, in the water. It paddled quickly toward the Mama duck. While watching this interaction and assuming Mama Mallard would take the duckling under her wing, Ann Marie was horrified to see the Mama duck start hitting the duckling and pushing it away.

The duckling swam to the edge of the water and once on land, ran right over to Ann Marie’s neighbor, Jeff, who was also near the pond that morning. Jeff scooped up the scared duckling, then turned it over to his wife, Melanie, who has prior experience with duck rescues at this very same venue. They put that feathered baby into a cat carrier and called a fowl rescuer, then decided to just take it a nature rescue center so it could be taken care of right away. The story is sad, but luckily has a good ending, as once again, humans helped out a fine-feathered friend.

A kindred soul is good to know.

People who love animals seem to gravitate toward one another. Like Elaine, or the woman I met at the grocery store around the holidays, who glanced at the stacks of cellophane packages of human peanuts in my shopping cart and tapped me on the shoulder and asked “so do you feed the squirrels too?” We both laughed and then discussed what we’d substituted for treats when Meijer dropped the ball and quit having peanuts in the store for a while. Her Plan “B” goodies were better than my Plan “B” goodies, so it tarnished my “Peanut Lady” crown just a tad.

Then there is the pair of women walkers at Council Point Park who bring a bottle of cocktail peanuts to the perimeter path every day they walk. The first time they were shaking the peanuts onto the asphalt, fellow walker Arnie quipped to the squirrels: “naked peanuts – you guys don’t even have to crack the shell – you’re spoiled!”

Yes we spoil them silly – who can resist those big brown eyes, pleading face and tail swishing wildly?

Recently these goodies have shown up on the perimeter path.

Last week I got to my favorite nature nook and strained my eyes to see what was up ahead on the pathway. So, what have we here?

As I got closer, I smiled to myself at the “droppings” … a new walker at the Park apparently aimed to feed the birds and not exclude any size birds in the process. There were neat piles of birdseed staggered all along the first part of the pathway. There were tiny millet seeds to sunflower seeds (which of course the squirrels would lap up once they saw them).

But, as I walked along the perimeter path, finally the piles of birdseed ceased and the critters had been gifted with a scattering of shelled peanuts with corncobs laying in the middle of each pile There were many such offerings along the perimeter path; these weren’t the only ones I’ve shown below. “Wow, no one will be begging from me today” I thought.

However, one squirrel who was enjoying his feast, heard my footsteps, then swiveled his head toward me while chomping on a corncob. “Aha, an acknowledgement from the peanut gallery” I told him, then added “I guess you won’t be needing any peanuts from Linda today.” It was more of a statement then a question. But wait … was I imagining that his eyes slid over to my Ziploc bag of peanuts, with such a grand feast laid out before his paws and which feast he had all to himself?

I tested the waters anyway and laid down some peanuts. That squirrel immediately removed himself from the corn and nuts pile and hustled over for some peanuts in the shell. I guess peanuts rule.

“Just when I thought I had you squirrels all figured out – what do I know?” I remarked wryly as I walked away.

Up ahead, I noticed some benefactor felt badly they had no critter treats to add to the breakfast menu, so they had scattered their Doritos onto the path.

I recalled the kindly older gentleman I wrote about earlier this year, who scattered the contents of a bag of tortilla chips on the ground for the squirrels because “I ran out of peanuts and didn’t want them to be disappointed and do without.”

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

My last tale about kindred souls is from a few weeks ago at Elizabeth Park. I was taking photos of the canal where the water still encroached onto the pathway and grounds. While standing there, a guy named Matt came over and asked me what type of ducks were in the canal. Admittedly, those large ducks, i.e. the snowy-white Pekin and Hybrid Mallard with its multicolored plumage, looked a bit out of place next to the smaller Mallards you see everywhere.

Matt and I chatted about the local parks while his daughter, Shelby, was wading in the canal. Part of the shallow water was actual grass where the canal water spilled over – you may recall I did a post on the massive flooding at Elizabeth Park recently. You can see the trees in the background – they are supposed to be on the grounds, not in the middle of the water!

The big ducks, unfazed by her presence, paddled lazily alongside her. Matt told me earlier they gave the Pekin duck some M&M cookies and quickly added “with the M&Ms removed of course!” I smiled and said “of course” then added that I had fed my favorite squirrel, Parker, a small bag of peanut M&Ms and he ate every one by himself. Matt said “I have a few more cookies – would you like to feed this duck?” I thanked him and declined, but said “I’d love to take you or Shelby’s photo feeding the duck if I could.” So, Shelby came over to watch as Matt crumbled up a couple of cookies.

The cookies piqued the Pekin duck’s interest. It was no slouch and waddled right over, pushing ahead of the Mallard Hybrid. Matt said that happened last time too and the Pekin was much more assertive. He spread the crumbled cookies into his palm and the Pekin duck gobbled up the treats and I had my photo op, which was definitely a win-win for both of us.

After enjoying those cookies, the Pekin duck wandered over to the water to wash ‘em down. Um, I think milk would have been a better option, but not if you’re a duck I guess.

Hummingbirds are not reliable “outside pets” – just sayin’.

My efforts here at the house to make Homer the Hummer my new outside pet are failing miserably. Interacting with the peanut pals and keeping them happy is much easier (and more enjoyable). I have two small hummingbird feeders and the nectar level never seems to go down. My last hummingbird sighting was two weeks ago – maybe over the long weekend I’ll pop outside more to check for visitors … oh wait, it will be 90F (32C) with a “real feel” of 100F (37C), if not higher, so maybe I’ll walk in the cool morning and come inside and stay put. Tuesday I arrived home from walking and found a hummer feeder full of ants. The army of ants didn’t gain access on top as there is an ant moat; nope, they were clustered inside the covered dish where at least 100 tiny black ants, who were likely lured to sip sweet nectar, now were floating in it – Eww. Pretty amazing that they scaled that six-foot shepherd’s hook for that prize. The feeder lid was sticky and when I pried it off, nectar slopped down my arm and drenched my watch. Well that wasn’t the scenario I had hoped for after seeing one tiny hummingbird sipping on a pink flower of a weed which prompted me to say “ooh – I’ll get a hummingbird feeder to keep this little beauty around!”

How about a quote for the road … whether you’re staying put this long holiday weekend, or on the move … just stay safe, okay?

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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‘Cuz kindness counts. #(Almost) Wordless Wednesday.

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

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Kindred souls.

I often strike up a conversation with people at the various parks that I frequent, and, surprisingly, the topic of our conversation is NOT necessarily walking. In fact, I almost never talk about walking. It is more about what I SEE when I am walking.

I have a treasure trove of little tales and photos that happen by the simple act of tossing out a few peanuts for the squirrels or birds and awaiting their reaction, usually with the camera in my hand. For the last five years, taking photos to accompany my walks has become the norm – it wasn’t always that way though. I began my walking regimen in 2011, and, when I discovered Council Point Park in 2013, the same year I began this blog, my daily meanders became walking AND feeding the squirrels AND taking pictures – now the blog has morphed with posts that are many paragraphs long and accompanied by many photos. This is such a blog post.

We’re bleeding hearts – that’s not a bad trait though.

I’ve met some fine folks I call kindred souls, nature lovers like myself, who make a special effort to show up at various parks to fawn over the critters that live there and ensure they are fed, especially when times are tough, like when a Michigan Winter settles in for the duration and our furry and feathered friends have it tough foraging for food.

In the Winter I worry about my Park squirrels and birds … the squirrels especially. I wonder if they have become “soft” … you know, accustomed to having peanuts scattered at their feet. Do they still go out and forage on those days I don’t make it to my favorite nature nook, or, do they huddle together in their nests, tummies rumbling and going hungry? To relieve my worries or guilt about not making a personal appearance every single day, especially in Winter, I make “droppings” on the picnic table in the pavilion area when I know bad weather is on the horizon. It is my furry and feathered friends’ ace in the hole when I am MIA.

You may think I am dedicated to keeping my peanut pals happy, but I must share this story about Elaine.

Elaine must’ve been here.

Back on February 22nd, a very cold, clear day, I was strolling around lovely Elizabeth Park. This venue is picturesque, no matter the season. It had been quite cold the week before and the Detroit River had frozen over, so I marveled at the ice slabs washed up on the boulders along the shoreline …

… and I was surprised how quickly the most-recent snowfall seemed non-existent.

There are lots of squirrels and birds at Elizabeth Park, so I always take peanuts and seeds to treat them. I ensure my camera is close by to get a few photos memorializing my morning meander, whether I am walking on the path that encircles this park, or at the bird feeding station I call “Birdie Nirvana” – a trip to Elizabeth Park never disappoints if you are a nature lover.

So I was taking photos of the Pekin ducks and Mallard Hybrids paddling around in the small cove near the canal, which surprisingly was not frozen over…

… when I heard a female voice say “good morning – my it’s cold out, but what a beautiful day!”

I turned around and acknowledged her greeting and agreed. Then the woman came over near me and said “well, I wondered where my Pekin ducks disappeared to? They usually come out of the water once they see me with my feed bag.” I smiled and said “they were posing for me” then I added “oh ya, I know all about the feed bag. In fact, I often wonder if the critters who live at the park where I go every day love me for ME, or that bag of peanuts I am toting.” She laughed and extended a hand and said “I’m Elaine and I take it you feed the critters too?” I introduced myself and patted my pocket where the remainder of a bright-yellow cellophane bag of Hampton Farms Jumbo Peanuts was wadded up and stuffed in there. I told Elaine my moniker was “The Peanut Lady” at Council Point Park.

We ended up chitchatting for almost an hour, both of us stomping our feet and rubbing our hands together in a futile attempt to stay warm, and, just like a couple of old friends comparing baby stories, we regaled one another with funny tales about critters at our favorite parks. I wowed Elaine with my story about the peanut-eating Canada Geese. She’d never seen that happen here at Elizabeth Park. I also told of the time a male Mute Swan took exception with me taking some photos of him and the Missus and he climbed up the Creek bank and charged after me. Because I’m never without peanuts, I threw some and he stopped in his tracks – whew!

By the time we parted, she had told me about a great deal on 50-pound bags of peanuts that she and her husband bought at a produce market many miles away. She even offered to get a bag or two for me, meet me at Elizabeth Park and even volunteered her husband to load up my car with the bags so I did not have to lift them. I thanked her but said I had no room right now as I’d loaded up food and pantry items for over the Winter, so I would continue buying them from Meijer, (though they had dropped the ball on keeping them in stock lately). “I live in a small house” I added.

Elaine said she was diligent about walking and feeding the critters and drove to Elizabeth Park all year around for her daily constitutional, while toting a two-pound bag of corn for the ducks and a one-pound bag of peanuts for the squirrels. As Elaine made her rounds, many furry and feathered fans scampered or waddled over to greet her.

Stooping down to lend a hand to some ducklings in need

Elaine told me that on one of her daily strolls, about a week after Easter 2019, she saw several yellow ducklings huddled together on the grass near the marina/catering hall area.

She recognized the trio as Pekin ducklings, seen only at Elizabeth Park. Pekin ducklings are yellow and fuzzy when they are young and their feathers turn white when they are mature. Taking a quick glance around the area, Elaine saw no sign of a Mama duck, so she crouched down and spoke to them and offered a handful of cracked corn which they gobbled right up, so she spread out more corn, several times, and it disappeared in a flash. Elaine wondered if they had been abandoned. She left the ducklings, promising them to return after going to the canal on her daily ritual to feed the Pekins and Mallards. She walked along the boardwalk, went to the canal, then along the path which encircles Elizabeth Park. She was gone a long time, but when she returned again to the marina area, she saw the ducklings were still there. This time they left their huddle and waddled right over to her. Yes, my heart would melt too, as would yours.

Because the ducklings weren’t afraid of humans, Elaine was sure they were abandoned, most likely by someone who bought them for their kids as Easter gifts, cute and cuddly pets, but soon realized the commitment, expense and mess of taking care of them.

Elaine told me her heart was pounding, but she had a solution – she would find a new “family” to adopt these cute ducklings, but it would not be humans this time – no, it would be some of their own kind.

So, luckily Elaine had saved some corn and she dribbled it out of her hand to get the ducklings to walk behind her. Obediently they followed, and the small pieces of corn disappeared as each duckling ran near her heels to be the first to grab a morsel. Can’t you just picture this in your mind? I can as I have had the cardinals hopping along behind me.

Elaine said it would have been much easier to just pick up the ducklings and simply carry them down to the canal with the adult Pekins, but she didn’t want to scare them, and besides, her hands were occupied by the two bags of corn and peanuts.

Well, Elaine did not have the benefit of being a Mama Mallard, but she guided those feathery babies along the boardwalk. It is a long trek from the marina/Chateau on the River and these few pictures do not even show the entire length of the boardwalk, then around the bend and over to the cove. Elaine smiled as she described one of the ducklings straying to the edge of the boardwalk and she almost lost it when it got off course, explored a wee bit too far and nearly toppled into the Detroit River.

This photo shows how precariously close her charge came to landing in the water with this exit where the leaves had collected …

… or, even catching a webbed foot in this wide space in the slats in the boardwalk.

Elaine lured the wayward duckling back to the route by using some more corn which was once again gobbled up. She told me she was wondering aloud “how long has it been since these babies last ate?” It was a long and arduous trip from the marina/catering hall to the canal area … some of these photos give you an example of just how far the group traveled.

This is an overview from above:

This is only a portion of the boardwalk and it curves around a few times:

Finally, 45 minutes later, and they were at the cove area of the canal. Elaine told me that in her mind, she pictured the young ducks gravitating right to the larger Pekins, thinking it was their Mama. But that was not the match made in Heaven she had anticipated. Elaine decided maybe it was best she left and let nature work its magic, so she left the adults and ducklings to get acquainted. As Elaine walked away, the ducklings turned and started walking back the way they came, obediently following behind her (quick learners)! “No!” said Elaine and she hurried over, quickly doling out more corn and got them pointed in the right direction, toward their new kin. 🙂

Perhaps the adults’ maternal instinct then kicked in, or maybe the Pekin adults simply wanted to please their benefactor, but soon the adults waddled over to nuzzle the ducklings. Elaine dumped the remaining corn for everyone and left the rest up to Mother Nature. She walked one more time around the park but decided not to return to the “meet-and-greet site” for fear the ducklings would follow her and not stay put.

The next day Elaine could hardly wait to see if the “new family” was visible at the cove/canal area. They were and they were all swimming around and zipped right over to see her to visit and for their daily breakfast. Elaine smiled and said she felt like a matchmaker and realized she probably saved those ducklings from predators, or sure death, as they likely had no clue how to defend themselves nor any foraging instincts either.

Elaine’s tale made me smile and gave me a warm-and-fuzzy feeling inside. I said I’d have had misgivings leaving those helpless babies too. I told her my angst about leaving the baby robin on the sidewalk, after I discovered it, heart pumping out of its chest and obviously not ready for prime-time fledging yet with such short wings. There was no nest to put it in. I left, tears welling up in my eyes, but when I returned later to take another look at it and saw Mama Robin lurking in the bushes, keeping her baby in her sight, my heart just swelled.

Almost an hour after meeting and each of us uttering “well I guess I should get going” we finally parted. I have not seen Elaine again in the many times I’ve been at Elizabeth Park since that Winter day, but who knows, perhaps we passed one another, clutching our respective bags of goodies, and did not recognize the other without our heavy parkas, wool mufflers and knit hats?

I have a few more tales of kindness to animals and that will appear in a post later this week. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this quote: “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” ~ Prince

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I found the frogs!

As you know from Tuesday’s post, I went looking for frogs, known as Spring Peepers, in a small wooded area on Grosse Ile. On multiple park websites I follow, many hikers, who had trekked through various woodland trails in the metro area, described hearing the Spring Peepers and I was bound and determined to find and photograph some for my blog. As you know from that post, they remained elusive … to my eyes anyway; I heard them just fine.

Just a handful of days later, I was walking through the neighborhood, while Council Point Park was on lockdown, and I was looking for the house with the metal container of dog treats. I found that house, along with a treasure trove of critters, beautiful tulips (no I did not tiptoe through them, though it was inviting to do so) and a touch of whimsy. Since the title of my blog includes the word “whimsy” I got busy taking photos of some of the items at this house, which is a corner lot. There is no grass on this property. The front yard is mostly ground cover of ivy and at the side of the home, it is a combination of small plants, rocks, ceramic critters and doodads, including whirligigs, mushrooms – where do I start? Where do I stop? I came home with many photos, but sorted them down so I don’t lose any of you readers one-third of the way through this post.

The frogs were plentiful – they were my favorites.

Just like my prior treks every Spring for sightings and photos of ducklings and cygnets, the Spring Peepers eluded me, but they are not the first amphibian to do so. Every Summer, in the still of the morn at Council Point Park, I hear the rhythmic belching of the resident bullfrog. I’ve yet to see Mr. Bullfrog (BTW only male bullfrogs croak), but sometimes I hear a faint splash in the water and wonder if I spooked that bullfrog or was it the carp playing tag or spawning? A few weeks ago, I was intent on taking a photo of cottonwood fuzzies on the Creek surface and I was surprised to hear a splash and caught the tail end of a frog jumping in the Creek headfirst … one must have two pair of eyes sometimes!

So, at this home, the frogs were plentiful. I liked the two I used in the header image. This is what the one praying frog looked like up close and then nestled near some tulips.

These lounging frogs caught my eye as well. There were additional frogs which I have not included in this post.

There were a few more critters peeping from the garden.

Here was a turtle and I told myself that at least I was seeing a ceramic turtle, though, given my druthers, I’d prefer seeing a row of real turtles basking in the sun on a log in the Ecorse Creek.

I had a similar thought when I saw the geese … the week before I had seen the geese and their goslings and I knew I would be missing them growing up … sigh. I decided there would be more geese and goslings at Council Point Park in the years to come, but for the present time, I had to be content with these geese, which evoked a few memories for me. I had a pair of very life-like, true-to-size Canada geese in my backyard for years. They looked so realistic, that when I staked them in the yard after buying them at a local nursery, my neighbor Jim hustled over to the fence and remarked: “Land sakes girl, I thought geese done landed in your yard and I had to have a look-see!” I wonder if geese flying overhead stopped to ponder whether a few of their brethren were grazing on the grass in my backyard? So, these geese brought back a few memories of Mickey and Minnie, as I called the pair. They were a bit of a pain as every time it rained, or you watered, you had to unscrew their heads and turn them upside down and empty the water out – water tended to seep through the open area in their head/neck region.

Time to tiptoe through the tulips – no wait … that would be trespassing!

The temptation sure was there to tiptoe through the tulips. It was tulip time … in the neighborhood anyway and I’d already seen an abundance of tulips, in an assortment of colors. We never had tulips at this house, though we had them in Canada, a mess of them. When we moved to the U.S., my father ordered some bulbs from Holland and planted them in the Fall. When he did yard clean-up the following Spring, he found many half-eaten tulip bulbs laying about the yard. Only one tulip bulb had not been unearthed by the squirrels and it was at the base of a long-gone birch tree. That tulip bloomed solo for years. Michigan’s longstanding annual Tulip Festival was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 which was a real shame. These bright-red tulips with a touch of filtered morning sun on them were beautiful.

Likewise, these tulips were pretty in pink hues …

… and beyond this pastel palette was an exquisite door and the garden continued. If a homeowner was outside, I would have asked to take a peek (yes, I am that bold) but it was early and I was the only one taking in all this exquisite beauty.

Here’s another view of the cross-street side yard ….not a single blade of grass to mow, but you’d better believe that these folks spend a lot of time maintaining the area anyway.

Even the sidewalks had a touch of whimsy. This was where the childrens’ hand prints were located that I featured in last week’s Wordless Wednesday post.

Summer is newly minted, but then it was still Spring, a sunny May morning when I took this stroll.

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A little birdie told me you have books here. #Wordless Wednesday #I see a birdie book, but it’s about lovebirds.

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

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Bogs, logs and frogs.

I headed to Grosse Ile on Sunday, May 3rd knowing it would most likely be the last trek on the Island this year, since the Grosse Ile free bridge was slated to close on May 6th and not re-open until sometime in December. There is a toll bridge to access the Island, but it has been congested with those who live or work there beating a path back and forth, so I’ll be patient and visit other venues besides Grosse Ile until 2021.

With that mindset, Meridian Woods was the first spot on the day’s agenda, later to be capped off with a trip to Elizabeth Park.

Bob, a fellow walker at Council Point Park, lives on Grosse Ile and last year, after showing me photos of deer families congregating in the wooded areas and trotting down the main drag near his home, I wanted to see those deer for myself, so he gave me some tips and directions. Bob mentioned some Nature Open Spaces venues to visit on the Island and I’d visited all but this particular one last year.

I was especially keen on visiting this natural woodsy area since many folks on the Michigan marsh or park sites I follow on social media, were commenting on the return of the “Spring Peepers” – while Spring Peepers may sound like a type of local songbird, they are tiny frogs which make a peeping noise and when there are a lot of them, it sounds like a chorus of birds. So, how cool is that? I found this very interesting video which shows one of these tiny frogs, with a not-so-tiny voice. This is one of the better nature videos I’ve viewed on YouTube; you can click here to view it.

So off to Meridian Woods I went to look for frogs.

One thing I’ve discovered about Grosse Ile, is that there are not too many places to park, especially if you want to walk along the Detroit River’s edge. There is no boardwalk, it is all private property, with many stately homes along East River Road. The only solution is to park in one of the four school parking lots and just walk from there.

So, I pulled into Meridian Elementary School and crossed over to the east side of Meridian Road to visit this locale, formerly known as Manchester Woods.

So, where do I go first … the trail or the across the little bridge? I chose the trail.

There was an information station which showed the history of this 153-acre wooded area and trail and a couple of warnings like poison ivy – yikes! I put that idea out of my head since there was the promise of frogs also listed on that same info sheet. 🙂

The trail was short, just like the other Grosse Ile Open Space nature nooks I’ve visited, so no worries that I’d stray too far from the main trail and become lost in the depths of the forest. At any given time, I don’t think I’d gone a mile from Meridian Street where I entered the trail.

It was clear and dry, then suddenly I hit a muddy patch, but some kindly soul had made provisions for that icky mud, by putting some sticks to cross over the muddy spots.

Once past that makeshift bridge, in this part of the woods, there were bogs and water had spilled over near the trail I was walking on.

There were many felled trees and while some logs were half submerged, other logs were glistening with a heavy covering of moss. The sun was filtering through the trees making that moss looked iridescent.

Still other trees were in various stages of decay like this one.

I continued along the Old Path/Creek Bed and it was very quiet; no humans were around, which I appreciated as we were about seven weeks into this COVID-19 crisis, but also because I wanted to hear those singing frogs. I had researched a little about the Spring Peepers and learned they are most active in the morning and evening and their song carries up to two and one-half miles.

As I walked along, the occasional woodpecker was tapping, or songbird warbling. I did not have peanuts with me to dole out, but the squirrels were occupied chattering away while they chased one another, their nails clicking on the bark of the still-standing trees, so I doubted they would have come over and begged.

A bit farther into the bog area, I heard them, the faint song interrupting the solitude of my walk, but that was okay. I studied the bog, looking for movement within and strained to hear where the sounds originated, knowing that even if I had brought my boots along, there was no way I was crossing through that bog to investigate – who knows if snakes lived in there, no … just no.

So I had to be content to hear the music only.

Finally, I walked back to Meridian Road and as the chorus grew fainter, I decided to investigate what was beyond the small wooden bridge – perhaps more frogs that I could see?

Well, the wooden walkway merely crossed over a small stream. The water was very clear, so I would have had a good view to glimpse any of those tiny frogs, but there were none, just the glimmer of sun hitting last Fall’s leaves that had settled onto the surface of the water.

Overhead were tender leaves, just unfurling and making their Spring debut. The forest was not entirely leafed out yet allowing for peeks at the sky above.

I made the short jaunt back to the car and headed for Elizabeth Park. I had planned to go down to the River in Wyandotte afterward, but it was very hot that day, so I tabled that idea.

Next year, I’ll find those Spring Peepers and hear their song … do I need to make a “Frog Photo Bucket List for 2021” perhaps?

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What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL DADS!

I will fete fathers, just like mothers, so let me wish you Happy Father’s Day if it applies.

Back in May, the weekend after Council Point Park so abruptly closed, I wondered if I would have fresh fodder for blog posts until it re-opened. Sure, I had lots of photos that I’d taken and were languishing in my picture folders, but each year I try to get some cute baby and parent photos to use for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

So, off I went to Elizabeth Park, on Sunday, May 3rd, hoping to catch a glimpse of some goslings. Lucky for me, there were several families paddling around in the canal.

A peaceful morning spent watching geese and goslings. I like the family in the foreground best.

While I shouldn’t play favorites, by far, these were the cutest goslings of the bunch.

A father’s pride and joy are his offspring, no matter how young or old they are.
He protects them as long as he is able, for one day they will leave and start their own families.
Little one – may you always look up to your father for guidance ‘cuz life sure is tough sometimes.

And now I’ll leave you with a quote:

“The imprint of a father remains forever on the life of the child.” —Roy Lessin

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Friday Frivolity: Parenting Faux Pas.

I believe I’ve witnessed a few parenting faux pas and I want to write about them in this forum.

Ahem – I should probably make the disclaimer here that I’ve never been a parent.

Well, I’ve been a pet parent several times, and, when I had that special status, I know I was the ultimate “helicopter pet parent” as I was always hovering, always fretting about my two birdies … in this case my canaries. In fact, the kindly avian vet where I took Buddy and Sugar told me “Linda – just treat them like a bird – they don’t need to be wrapped in so many blankets to bring them over here – really, they are not as fragile and delicate as you think!” I nodded my head and said “OK Dr. Cook” but it went in one ear and out the other.

As for my own parents – they were strict and I toed the line. I knew what was expected of me and didn’t cross my folks as they always meant business. 🙂

I keep checking off items on that “Photo Birdie Bucket List for 2020”.

I’ve had a wonderful streak of luck fulfilling that “Photo Birdie Bucket List” since I first spotted that lowly hummingbird on Memorial Day. It was sipping nectar from a weed with pink, bell-shaped flowers outside the door. Happy to check “Hummingbird” off my list and determined that it should return and be an “outside pet” I got two small hummer feeders, some red ribbon and some packages of hummingbird nectar. I even sprang for a red bottle to put the nectar in and thought of a name, all reasons that would clinch having Homer hang around. He’s been around, the nectar goes down, but he’s camera shy … so far anyway. I’ll have to work on that, though sadly it cannot be accomplished with Nutter Butter cookies as Homer is not a pushover like the squirrels.

Good fortune was with me when I saw Mama Mallard and her 10 ducklings, then a couple of days later at Elizabeth Park I saw a cygnet. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I have spent many mornings along the Detroit River boardwalks, especially the small cove at Dingell Park where fellow walker Mike told me he always saw the Mama Mute Swan and her cygnets. Well, I saw many Mute Swans, just no swanlings.

The mental image I conjured up about a swan and her young that I would one day be lucky enough to see and photograph, was the likes of this very cute video.

But Nature does not always cooperate the way YOU want it to.

“Adulting” is no fun sometimes. I tempered my expectations a little about seeing and photographing a scene the likes of that fun swan video. In fact, my first cygnet sighting went more like this. The parents and their youngster were more than just social distancing, believe me. The other adult swan was so far away, I could not get it into the whole frame.

The trio was in the middle of the Detroit River and closer to the Canadian side, so the photos are not as close as I would like. I was watching from the boardwalk at Elizabeth Park. To be honest, I was aghast at the parents who were joyriding the waves without a care in the world for their poor youngster.

Meanwhile, Junior was paddling furiously along, those oversized, black, webbed feet trying to keep up with his folks. It was not easy for two reasons: 1) the wind kicked in while I was at the River (later, when I turned on the weather forecast I learned it was about 16 mph/26 kph); and 2) the waves were very high from all the boat traffic.

Unlike the Mama Mallard who was attentive to her youngsters that lined up obediently, never budging from the queue, or Mama’s side, or the Canada Geese parents, always fiercely protective of their goslings from the nest until they fledge, I was appalled at the lackadaisical way the Mister and Missus managed their only cygnet.

The youngster trailed behind them crying out with peeps and squeaks as it was rockin’ and rollin’ on the River. See that little beak open as he/she cried out.

Moments later, I was horrified to see the wave almost submerge this wee one. Imagine all the water ingested!

I stayed awhile and got these photos, hoping that the trio would come closer to the boardwalk, perhaps going into the small channel where the Pekin and Mallard Hybrid ducks hang out, but no, they continued floating down the River. Perhaps I should have reported them to the ASPCA?

P.S. – I previously thought this was shoddy child care, but the upside-down nest might have been a casualty of the wind and hopefully already empty.

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