The frost is on the pumpkin …

Pumpkin patch ready for annual festival in Half Moon Bay, California.

… and no, I’m not out of my gourd telling you that on the 18th of October!

A BRRisk walk.

We had a hard freeze in the wee hours of this morning.  Our weather folks had forewarned us that the blooms on our posies wouldn’t be perky after we dipped to the low 30s, and maybe even the 20s in the northern suburbs.  This is unusually cold for SE Michigan … after all, it’s only mid-October.  I’m not usually in the cedar closet digging out my woolen wear and Winter coat until late October/early November.  When I left the house this morning it was a mere 31 degrees.  I’m not into the whole Winter layers regimen yet and forgot a scarf and could have used one.  I hunched down into my coat collar and resembled a turtle as I wended my way down to the Park.  The lawns were covered with a light frosty glaze.  It looked like Mother Nature shook icing sugar on the grass and plants, and most of it was gone once the sun was high in the sky.

The squirrels were out, including Parker, who was running around the parking lot when I arrived, so I steered him toward the trail by making him follow at my heels until we were far enough away from any vehicles.

parker big

“Please don’t hang out in the parking lot – ever!” is what I told him, but of course it always falls on deaf ears.

parker 2.jpg

I finished up my walk, and there he was, in the parking lot again, so we repeated the exercise, and he got more peanuts from me.  Who can resist that sweet face?


The leaves are not only littering the walking path, but the Creek surface as well, looking like multi-colored dots floating on by.

leaves on creek.jpg

leaves on creek1jpg.jpg

Some people have strapped festive Fall wreaths to the memorial trees in the Park, like this one.


Yesterday I was a “two-timer” and proud to admit it.

I visited Council Point Park twice yesterday.  I slipped down there in the morning and then all afternoon I kept hearing about this big hard freeze advisory.  I turned off the outside water the day before, but got to feeling guilty about my hose, still on the reel, likely untouched since July when we had the drought.  We’ve had so much torrential rain that I didn’t need to water for months.

Now most people don’t have an affinity for their garden hose, but I bought this particular hose the first year I began gardening, around 1985.  The salesman at Johnny’s Nursery said “buy a Swan hose, they last forever ….”  Dominic was right.  So, I figured I’d better go out and put it away last night so it didn’t crack.  I had to pull the car out of the garage to put the hose in there.  So, I figured while I had the car out, I’d zip down to the Park for a quick walk.  So off I went for the second time in one day, thus I was a two-timer at the Park.

I’ve written before about going to Council Point Park in the evening.  It’s just not the same.  The angle of the sun is all wrong.  There are one or two walkers, sometimes none.  The biggest disappointment is the critters are never around.  I saw one squirrel and since I had peanuts with me, I shook the bag and he came scurrying over.  I’ll bet he was glad he didn’t go to bed early!

It’s always a little windy at the Park and yesterday the wind was racing at about 17 mph.  I had to hold onto my hat several times and since a few of my hats have gone airborne already, including a beret that whipped along in the wind and snagged on a branch over the Creek, I just called it quits after two miles and came home.

Then I had to deal with the hose, something I usually do when I’m raking leaves or doing other Fall outside chores.  I wrangled that cold and unbending rubber hose into two plastic tubs, a job that was akin to grabbing a python and winding it into a carrier.  I was grumbling the entire time.  Water stored in the hose from earlier in the Summer dribbled out onto my shoes and the hose snaked around a bit and got me all wet.  I was wondering why I didn’t do this last week when the hose was soft and pliable – after all, it was 86 degrees just a week ago.  Ahhh … because it was too hot – that’s why!

Reality has set in though … shorter days and scuffing through dead leaves.

The dramatic change in temperature may seem like the meteorologists were full of hops when they predicted an El Nino Winter, but I am buoyed by two more recent events telling us that Southeast Michigan may just remain unscathed from an abundance of snow and cold for the Winter of 2018-2019.

The first was seeing a post from Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Interpretive Preserve.  I’ve been following that site on Facebook along with other parks all Summer.  It was that site where I saw the post about the turtles hatching and reached out to Jennifer to ask about the turtle nest at the Park.  Yesterday Jennifer posted pictures of two Woolly Bear Caterpillars with this message below.

Crosswinds Pic

Today on WWJ, my radio station, they had the annual Winter prediction by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  I look forward to hearing their annual predictions, just like the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” rep’s thoughts on the Winter season when he calls in.  Well, his words were that an El Nino is on the way with a milder and less snowy Winter for both the Upper and Lower Peninsula.

Yes, they don’t know for sure, and are making an educated guess, based on charts, algorithms and scientific data.  The caterpillar … well that’s Mother Nature’s doing I guess.  Let’s revisit this post 100 days from today, on January 26th, and see how it all shakes out and who was the most accurate, shall we?

In the meantime a girl can dream!

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Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.


After a week of roller-coaster temperatures, I think we have finally settled into a more Autumn-like pattern.  It has been chilly the last three days, and, unbelievably, a frost/freeze warning went out Friday evening to protect delicate flowers and veggies, when a handful of days before we tied an old record of 86 degrees!

It was definitely hat-and-glove weather when I set out this morning at only 41 degrees.  I headed to Lake Erie Metropark since the car needed a good run and I wanted a long walk.   I had a marathon grocery-shopping session yesterday as I have been gathering pantry items for over the Winter, so I only need to shop for fresh staples during the snowy and icy weather.  I went to the store three times yesterday, schlepping in bags and bags of groceries, so I racked up about six miles of steps.  Admirable yes, but I was ready for an infusion of nature this morning, so I made that 30-mile round-trip drive to Brownstown.

I was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, just chomping at the bit to get in a long walk and get some foliage photos, as well as capturing the images of any hawks that may be gliding overhead at the boat launch.  Well, the colors were really nothing dramatic and the hawks and/or any other raptors were non-existent, so the camera never even got turned on and I concentrated on my steps alone, as I walked on the Cherry Island Trail and along the water’s edge, adding  another five miles toward my ultimate goal.

What I do have to share on today’s post are photos I took at Council Point Park earlier this week.  As you know, for months, I’ve bemoaned the lack of sun-filled morning walks, but last Wednesday, we had not only balmy temps but a radiant sun and blue sky.  Some trees were already cloaked in jewel-toned colors, the shades of yellow, rust and burgundy that so richly define Autumn here in the “Mitten State” during October.   The perimeter path was jam-packed with walkers and squirrels.  I had extra peanuts on hand to make up for a few days’ absence, as I’d been walking in the neighborhood earlier in the week due to the foggy conditions and threat of rain.

Parker ran over to greet me and we visited before I began on the perimeter path.  There were squirrels at every bend and turn it seemed, like this one who stood up for a better look.  I always get a kick out of them doing this.

looking for me

In one area on the first loop of the trail, many squirrels tend to congregate.  Whenever I pass by, there are always multiple mouths to feed, as my furry pals seem to come out of the woodwork, as you see in this photo of a trio of squirrels noshing away on nuts.


The squirrels are getting chubby.  You’ll see in the pictures I’ll post over the next month or so, some of them look like they waddle as they gear up for the Winter ahead.


Meanwhile, they get their peanuts, enjoy one or two, and the rest go to their hidey-hole.




Not every critter on the trail was bushy tailed however.

I got this cute photo of Stubby, the squirrel who is missing a good part of his tail, as he grabbed two peanuts to go.  I think the peanuts were bigger than his mouth!

stubby two peanuts

Likewise, I saw a cute bunny with a powder-puff tail on the perimeter path.


He had bright eyes for sure and how about that cute white tail?

rabbit white tail.jpg

I barely got time to get a couple of shots when he was suddenly spooked and bolted.

I noticed that even more trees and bushes have been cleared along the water’s edge since my last visit and I still don’t care for the wide-open spaces and view of the Creek.  One of the walkers suggested it was for us to have a better view of the Creek.  Well, yes … of course that makes sense and I was able to glimpse the heron without standing on tiptoe to spy on him through the bushes, but now the squirrels have less space to hide from the hawks.  That’s a little worrisome to me as I fret over their safety, having seen a hawk up in a tall tree that very morning.  First, I watched him in the air, large wingspan, long tail and gliding in the sky, so my eyes followed this bird to a tall tree, where it had a bird’s eye view of the Park and all the squirrels playing and/or foraging at ground level.

hawk final.jpg

Here’s a view of the heron through the bushes.  He couldn’t see me from this vantage point.  I got one photo from here, then moved along.


He was standing at his favorite spot, the cement precipice that overlooks the Creek and was engrossed in scanning the water for fish.


I was able to approach him, and, miraculously he stayed put, unless he has just resigned himself to pose and perhaps the annoying human will just go away.


As I trekked around Council Point Park, I was struck how Mother Nature had taken her paintbrush to the Park foliage.  Some trees had retained their Summer hues, but others were ablaze in color.

A - gold

A - red and gold

A - leaves only

A - red and gold and green

B - burgundy

It was a glorious morning, one to savor both for the glimpses of nature on the walking path at Council Point Park and the miles gleaned from that trek as well.

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Tuesday Musings.

Summer sure is bossy … it keeps kicking Fall to the curb.

The weather has been wacky, yet I have managed to get a walk in every day, despite all the rain and fog. Saturday we had five torrential rain storms. Sunday morning it poured, but, like Saturday, I went out mid-day. Yesterday morning it was foggy. When I went out this morning, it was 70 degrees and really humid. I wore shorts and a tee-shirt on the 9th of October! The madness continues because we ended up at 86 degrees today, which tied the 1949 record. Tomorrow is our last Summer-like day, as Fall returns with a vengeance on Thursday, and we are told this time it is here to stay.

I have been walking in the neighborhood lately due to the unsettled weather, but I’m going back to my old stomping grounds tomorrow.

A friend of mine posted a picture of this Woolly Bear caterpillar on Facebook a few days ago.

I saved Leslie’s picture, knowing I’d eventually do a post on this little critter. If you’re up on your folklore, you know that the caterpillar of the Isabella Tiger Moth, a/k/a the Woolly Bear Caterpillar, is a good means of gauging the upcoming Winter. When examining this caterpillar’s fuzzy body, if you see more brown segments than black segments, it is a bellwether for a mild Winter. Here is an article from The Old Farmer’s Almanac to read more fun facts:

So, I analyzed this photo of the Woolly Bear caterpillar … hmm, its segments look about equal to me. Our local meteorologists are predicting an El Nino Winter, or mild Winter for us for 2018-2019. I’m ecstatic if that is correct, as last year’s Winter season was horrible.

I never saw a Woolly Bear caterpillar in 2017. The last glimpse of one was four years ago at Council Point Park. I watched it inching across the perimeter path, and, since I was familiar with the legend of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar, I bent down to take a picture of it and to count its rings. Another walker happened by and asked me what I was doing, so I explained. This would be my friend Ann Marie whom I met for the first time at the Park that day. I looked back at that blog post photo and the caterpillar’s rings look similar to this one, and unfortunately that Winter season we had the second of the back-to-back Polar Vortexes.

So, do we give this caterpillar a quick glance, willing ourselves to see an abundance of brown bands circling its body just to make us happy? Maybe we ought to only rely on the scientific data by the meteorologists? Sadly, whatever Winter weather is in store for us, ultimately we will just have to grin and bear it. After a year of abnormal weather, where all four seasons in 2018 were not only a disappointment to me, but to most others around the world, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the best. As of today, I’ve walked 876 miles and have 175 more miles to go to meet my goal.

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The Munch Bunch.


I keep reminding myself it is Autumn, and that was difficult to do this morning, after I stepped outside to 74-degree temps.  It felt like an August day with high humidity and dew points and wet pavement everywhere from a pre-dawn rain.  Once again it has been a rainy week, but I’ve been lucky enough to be unscathed by those droplets, timing my walks around the rain, but, it also meant staying close to the ‘hood as storms or rain loomed large … that is, except for yesterday.

On my list of Fall favorite things are apples.  Michigan is 3rd in the nation for apple production.  Our orchards produce 900 million pounds of apples a year in 16 different varieties of this sweet treat.  I like Honey Crisp and Pinata apples best, and, to me, nothing beats a juicy apple with a slice of cheddar cheese alongside it.

Every Fall I treat my furry pals in the Park to apples and small unwaxed pumpkins.  Now there’s something they enjoy and can really sink their teeth into.  The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought a couple of bags of Jonathan apples.

apples in the bag.jpg

The apples were small, perfect for paws and very tiny mouths.  I had not been to Council Point Park as much as usual the last 10 days or so, due to sticking close to home because of rain or storm threats, or weekend excursions.  I do stop at the Park on my way home from weekend treks, but most times the squirrels are not out and about like they are in the morning.

How do you like dem apples?

So I toted both bags of apples and several Ziploc bags of peanuts down to the Park to make amends for my absence.

I had just crossed into Council Point Park’s entrance when I got the first taker – Parker, of course.  Thankfully he waited until I crossed the street, then zoomed on over and began dancing around my feet.  I gave him a peanut and he started chomping happily.


I tossed out a few more peanuts, then slid in an apple for good measure.  He sniffed it, but grabbed a couple of peanuts and scurried off to the soccer field, his go-to hiding place for peanuts.  I waited briefly for his return, but he was digging furiously and I had apples and peanuts to deliver so I moved on.


I didn’t get far as a few more squirrels were there to greet me.  Each got goodies like this.

offerings before trail.jpg

Hmm … at this rate, I needed three bags of apples and peanuts.

In the past, I’ve always just placed the apples along the trail, about every 20 or 30 feet or so, in the areas where the squirrels frequent.  They’d see them and eat them on the spot.  Well, enjoying that apple on the spot was worrisome to me this year due to the hawk(s).  I sure didn’t want to see a hawk swoop down on an unsuspecting squirrel, who was too engrossed in eating the apple to be “on guard”, so my plan was to place the apples around the picnic table area under the pavilion roof.  Thus, the squirrels were protected from a hawk swooping down on them.

lined up in the beginning.jpg

It looked like someone chewed on the one side of the picnic table.

bitten off table.jpg

Well, silly me … I was thinking like a human, not like a squirrel.  I soon discovered a squirrel will seize something large like an apple or a cache of nuts, and haul it away to a hidey-hole, so I needn’t have worried, and I could banish that image of squirrels lined along the pathway, and the hawk trying to pick them off out of my mind.

I placed most of the apples along the top of a few picnic tables and underneath them as well, keeping aside a few in my pocket as I saw several squirrels on the trail.  As soon as that trio of squirrels saw me, I held out an apple to lure them to the pavilion area so they could see the other apples.  I shook my Ziploc bag of peanuts so they knew even more treats were in store for them.  It worked and soon I had squirrels heading toward the pavilion.  (Yes, I know I missed my  calling as a squirrel trainer.)

Apple antics.

Next, I went back out onto the perimeter path and a group of squirrels gathered around me as I scattered peanuts and the remaining two apples from my pocket.  A couple of them fought, swiping a paw against the other, trying to claim one apple.  Fisticuffs – really?  I had to toss down more peanuts to intervene and along came a few squirrels, stopping to get their apple, clenching it between their teeth, or half dragging it along.





The peanuts were the bigger draw it seemed, as the squirrels often abandoned an apple to lunge for the peanuts, an action that reminded me of kids, who were happy when mom put down a plate of SpaghettiOs or macaroni and cheese, instead of meat and vegetables, but the nearby package of Oreo cookies were much more tempting, so the choice was easy.

Red was the color of the day.

Since I was here last, the City cleared lots of brush and chopped down a few trees that lined the banks of the Ecorse Creek.  I really don’t like the look as it seems too open now, and the bare areas, and remaining stumps have made my favorite nature nook lose some of its ambiance.

trees chopped down.jpg

The remaining bushes along the water’s edge continue to turn beautiful shades of red, and since there was not even a hint of sun until I was home and ready to walk in the door, those red leaves and apples looked vibrant in the gray morn.

red leaves3.jpg

red leaves2.jpg

red leaves1.jpg

I walked around the entire first loop, while squirrels continued to come out of the woodwork and race over to me for peanuts.  I glanced at the picnic tables, saw a few birds pecking the apples and watched this squirrel making the moves to get his treat.  Good, I got through to them; they knew where to go!





I gave everyone their morning giggle.

The other walkers, having witnessed the distribution of apples and peanuts as they passed me on the perimeter path, were smiling as I stood there amidst a flurry of furry, four-legged friends.  I tried taking some photos of the group, but often, once I had the camera ready, in my peripheral vision I’d see another squirrel begging for peanuts at my feet.

Some squirrels had pieces of apple clinging to their fur around the  mouth – well, it was good eatin’ and gave them a sugar high to go hunting and gathering long into the afternoon.



Please know that I am not their only benefactor, so my absence was not forcing them to eat pine cone nuts and whatever else they can forage around the Park this time of year.  The mulberries are gone and I didn’t see many apples on the wild apple tree this year.  So yes, it is easy for me to fall prey to those dark eyes and pleading looks, but there are at least three other people feeding them peanuts on a regular basis, mostly after I’ve left for home.

I walked the same loop again, this time in a hurry, as I’d lingered a little longer than usual.  I would have liked to have returned this morning to see if any apples remained but I know, if it is anything like in the past, those apples are long gone by now.  As I walked past my first “dropping” – the peanuts were gone, and most of a munched-on apple was still there – oh he’ll be back, I guarantee it.

apple at the end

It was fun interacting with the squirrels yesterday.  Today is “National Animal Day” so I’ll leave you with this quote I got from Twitter.

world animal day.JPG

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Sunday strolling at Elizabeth Park.


Today’s blog post is the last of a trio of excursions taken the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd.   Because of the old saying “make hay while the sun shines”, I spent a good portion of last weekend trekking around these two scenic parks and taking photos, because who knew if this current weekend might be waterlogged, as so many have been in 2018?  Actually, I was prophetic, because today it did rain earlier and before the second rain shower’s expected arrival, I did scoot out and walk in dry, but gloomy-looking conditions.

I finished off September with 831 miles walked so far this year.  I have 220 more miles to make my goal.  While that may seem to be a piece of cake in this last quarter of 2018, the sun is rising later, so soon five miles each weekday morning may no longer be possible, and then by late October you have to start watching for the pathway to be slick with wet leaves, or even worse, having glaze ice when temperatures really start to dip.

So, a week ago today I went to lovely Elizabeth Park to see that venue one last time before Mother Nature begins painting those leaves the hues we’ve come to enjoy as we get deeper into this season.  It was the first full day of Autumn, and, after freezing my fingers in the brisk breeze the day before, I really layered up and even brought along gloves to wear until the sun was high in the sky.

Well, this trip was for the birds!  (I mean that in a good way.)

Since Elizabeth Park is only about eight miles from Lake Erie Metropark, I wondered if I would see any raptors, since the day before there were no sightings in the nearly three hours I spent at that venue.  Would they continue on their migrating journey by crossing Elizabeth Park?

This Park is located along the Detroit River, and features over 1,300 feet of boardwalk where people walk, jog, rollerblade and fish.  But, if you tire of looking out at the sparkly water and pleasure boats, you can always hike through the wooded area, walk the perimeter path that encircles the Park, or head down to where the ducks and geese congregate by streams that run parallel to Slocum Street, named for the family that donated the land which is now known as Elizabeth Park.

So what types of birds did I see during my trek

I was basking in the sunshine, leaning against the railing of one of the many bridges, when I spotted an Egret.  That Egret, just like me, was enjoying the sun’s rays, that is … until this pesky human happened along and disrupted its morning meditation.


From atop this bridge, I had a good view of the Egret and took a few pictures, but then I decided to creep up a little closer, stalking the poor creature, for goodness sake.  Having crossed the bridge to the other side, I obviously intruded on its personal space, so the Egret bolted for parts unknown.  It flew over the boardwalk and across the Detroit River, maybe even to Canada.

Well, having crossed that bridge, while hot on the trail of the Egret, I realized I, too, was in parts unknown.  I had strayed from the main area of the Park, and now could see busy Slocum Street and the entrance to Elizabeth Park, but I was heading along a path I’d never been on before.  I decided to follow that path to see where it took me.


In the distance was a second and similar-looking bridge, where there were some ducks likewise enjoying the morning sun.  I wanted to get a picture of them at rest, as a few seemed so sleepy that they were unperturbed by my presence.  But, as I’ve noticed, whenever I come across a group of ducks resting or preening, there is always a lookout duck watching out for his brethren.

Look at this Pekin duck, who was so sleepy, nodding off, yet obviously he had doubts that the Mallard could handle the lookout duck position, as he kept one eye open while I was nearby.

lookout duck.jpg

Then, he decided to stretch his legs and ambled over to a spot to be by himself.  Perhaps this was a hint for me to skedaddle, or, even to signify to his brethren that he wanted privacy?  But, he stood there, in a one-legged stance, sleeping on the spot, but occasionally checking out his surroundings.

eyes shut.jpg

eyes open.jpg

When I finally decided to move along, he obviously rejoiced that he and his fine-feathered friends were alone again.

happy face.jpg

I saw no one on this pathway, and it was not secluded in the least, so I felt at ease being here and took my time walking along.

I thought this tree was interesting looking …

unusual tree

… and this fallen log in this cove provided a nice cubbyhole for a group of Mallards to sleep or preen on this lovely sun-soaked Sunday morning.

ducks all 1.jpg

ducks two 1

I likely overstayed my welcome with this group of ducks, and, though I didn’t like to destroy this cozy scenario with my presence, one by one the Mallards waddled off the log to plop into the water, the breeze ruffling their feathers just a little, probably almost as much as my presence did.

The wildflowers along the way added a nice touch of color to the glorious day.


I trekked the entire path, and, so I wouldn’t get lost, I went back to the bridge where I discovered the Egret and crossed back over into familiar territory.

Waterfowl aplenty as I meandered through Elizabeth Park.

I like Heritage Park as the ducks and geese congregate at beautiful Coan Lake, but at Elizabeth Park, it seems you cannot turn around without seeing groups of ducks, mostly Mallards.  Though the Canada Geese are also plentiful, clearly ducks rule in this Park.

In the shadow of the main bridge, where people often gather for wedding, homecoming and prom photos, I saw this group of ducks on a log.  Like the other Mallards, they were lined up and enjoying the sunny morning.

ducks all

ducks in a row.jpg

Talk about having your ducks in a row!

All these duck sightings and I’d not even headed to the boardwalk along the Detroit River yet!  As I continued my stroll, I saw the Egret had returned and a Cormorant had arrived on the scene.  I realized I was fickle, not sure which one to focus my attention on, so my head swiveled back and forth watching each of them.

The Egret strutted along the water’s edge, taking large strides with its big feet.

egret running.jpg

Occasionally it paused to pose, as it is probably used to people dragging out their phones or cameras because it looks so photogenic.

egret still.jpg

Out of the corner of the other eye, I watched the Cormorant frolicking in the water, its long neck and head barely above the surface more than a few seconds, until it disappeared once again in search of food.


I watched the Cormorant’s antics until a group of kayakers came along and stirred things up just a little, and I mean more than just the water.  Their colorful kayaks and lively conversation first scared the Egret who bolted, and then spooked the Cormorant who freaked out and flew up into the sky.

bye bye 2a.jpg


The kayakers paddled on by, oblivious to the stir they caused in the waterfowl world.


The ducks and geese were not so skittish of those colorful kayakers and stayed to themselves along the water’s edge.

Along the boardwalk.

Next, I continued on my journey along the river walk.  The breeze made the water choppy and the sun made it sparkle.

sparkly water and waves.jpg

A seagull with some attitude greeted me … if a seagull could wear a surly look, this bird sure had one.

seagull with attitude

A flock of Canada Geese soared overhead, not quite having their “V” formation all together yet.  They disappeared above the trees in the distance, defining that first full day of Fall to a “T”.

formation over walkway.jpg


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Hunting for hawks at Lake Erie Metropark.

blue banner

Well, I usually do my blog posts the same day, or the next day, after a weekend excursion, but last Saturday, I wanted to do something special for the first day of Fall, and Sunday I did the post about visiting the alpaca farm.  This trek was actually one week ago today.

I left early in the morning and it was downright chilly – only 56 degrees.  I should have taken into account the sometimes dismal-looking skies, brisk wind and the fact that I was right at Lake Erie, and should have dressed a little warmer.

My destination was the boat launch area at Lake Erie Metropark.  When I took the coffee club trek back on September 1st, the guide pointed out this site, and told us that beginning in mid-September through the end of November, a variety of raptors (mainly Eagles, Hawks and Falcons) migrate through Lake Erie and stream past this point.  This migrating phenomenon has become part of an event called “Detroit River Hawk Watch” at Lake Erie Metropark for 35 years, and specifically at the boat launch site for 20 years.

migration sign 1

There are signs marking the migration by months, and what birds of prey you might expect to pass through during the three-month season.




If you’re wondering, (like I did), just how the migration is monitored, there is a paid counter and volunteers who are on the lookout for various types of birds of prey.   According to the Audubon Society, there are about 16 different species that travel through the area, and the greatest majority are Broad-Winged Hawks.  Depending on the weather, mostly wind current, there can be as few as 30,000 birds to as many as 600,000 birds, including Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawks and Peregrine Falcons during the entire migration season.  Most of them cross at the southernmost part of the Detroit River, but strong north winds enable them to cross Lake Erie, thus the birdwatchers gather en masse to view them and take photos as well.

Here is an image of last year’s “official species count” as logged at the Detroit River Hawk Watch:

sign of species.jpg

I originally intended to go to see the hawk migration during Hawkfest, but decided to go there on my own, when it would be less crowded, and combine the trip with a hike along the Cherry Island Trail.

When I arrived at Lake Erie Metropark, I was greeted by a great big gaggle of geese who had planted themselves in the middle of the roadway you must take to get to the boat launch area.  There must have been 50 of them poking along the side of the road and sashaying across it.  I was not going to honk – first of all, I’m not a horn-honkin’ kinda gal, and besides – they’d likely honk right back.  So, I waited patiently while they moseyed across the road.  Meanwhile, a small line of vehicles had formed behind me, and, in looking in the rear view mirror, I could see the woman in the car behind me had an amused look on her face.  I decided that if you worked at this Park, you’d have to take into account the occasional episodes of geese congregating in the middle of the road and factor that into your commute time, much like when I encountered the freighters passing under the bridge, causing the drawbridge to go up, delaying our bus trip to downtown Detroit as much as a half hour some days.

The Canada geese crossed and I finally made it to the boat launch, and, though I thought I’d beat the crowd, the crowd obviously beat me!


I got the last available parking space.  The photographers were there with their long lenses and tripods, hunkered down with coffee and prepared to wait for these migrating birds.

one with big lens

Most people had binoculars hanging from their neck.  I never thought to bring mine.  I felt like quite the novice amongst the group.  As I walked around looking for a good location to plant myself, I eavesdropped on a few conversations recounting how many hawks came in one time and how exciting it was to see them.

So, I waited, along with the throng of photographers, for those elusive hawks to arrive.

After about 45 minutes, succumbing to numb fingers, and having spotted nothing in the sky but the usual seagulls who were cruising above, I decided to do some sightseeing around the picturesque boat launch area instead.

boat launch harbor


A seagull perched on a buoy, its feathers ruffled by the brisk wind, and it looked about as cold as I felt.  The seagull stood still as a statue, affording me an opportunity to take at least a dozen photos of it, all which looked the same when I got home and saw them on the screen.

seagull on buoy1

I decided to leave and walk along the Cherry Island Trail, reversing the same path as we took on the coffee club trek.  We’d had a recent rain and I could see great pools of water as I walked through the woodsy area.


As I crossed one of the wooden bridges, I came upon a photographer, with his camera attached to a lens as long as my forearm, mounted on a tripod and trained on an egret.  This was the exact spot as I saw the Egret last time.  I didn’t move a muscle as I didn’t want to disturb the photographer who was quite engrossed with the Egret.  But a Heron came buzzing by, so the photographer turned on a dime, to capture its image.  I realized I am not as quick on the draw and said as much and he replied “he’ll wait for you” … but he didn’t, and that Great Blue Heron took flight right over my head.

The photographer left and I was alone with my thoughts with a beautiful Egret in the distance.  This time he was not up in the trees like before, so I got some pictures of him, albeit far away.

in marsh3.jpg

But he wasn’t content to stand there and took off, circling the marsh and then returning once again.

in marsh1.jpg

in marsh2

The lotus beds have lingered on, but the leaves float without the lovely blooms rising above them.  A few trees had smidgens of color, so I must come back when the leaves begin to turn, as I’ll bet it will be lovely.

colored trees and lotus.jpg

These are some pictures along the trail.

leaves on the trail - maybe header.jpg

leaves on the trail.jpg

I did the entire pathway where I saw leaves littering all the way along the Cherry Island Trail.  I came back to the boat launch site through a marshy area where tall reeds grew high beside that wooden walkway and I glanced to the sky to get a glimpse of any hawks, but it was still just seagulls like before.


Perhaps I’ll need to take a rain check for the hawks.

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It’s been a soggy and volatile September.


The Summer of 2018 was, as they say, nuthin’ special … and sadly, Fall looks like it will follow in its footsteps.

Rain, rain go away, come again another day!

We have five more days before we close out this month and we have broken another couple of weather records – this time it was for rainfall.

Yesterday, at Metro Airport, (which is where weather statistics are measured for our city), we received 2.51 inches of rain, which shattered the old record of 1.40 inches on this day back in 1986.  On September 20th , we also had a record rainfall of 1.53 inches in one day.  Maybe building an ark is a good idea!

Is it time for me to embrace rainy days and not whine about ‘em?

I wouldn’t be bemoaning these rainy days, if I wasn’t chasing after this walking goal.  A total of 6.4 inches of rain in September already is making it mighty tough to get it done.  I am mindful that many of you have asked why I can’t just walk in the rain?   I’ve held steadfast, saying that over three decades of taking the bus to work, many times in extremely ugly weather, makes me less inclined to go traipsing around in the rain, a blizzard, or even extreme heat, if I don’t have to.

As to the rain, obviously I’m not made of sugar, and I’ll likely come around eventually and get into that mindset of enjoying a walk in the rain.  There are a few walkers at Council Point Park who walk rain or shine.  In fact, the weather forecast was for light rain yesterday morning.  It was warm out; I said to myself “just go out, it’s not like a cold rain, with leaves and wind whipping about.”  So, in anticipation of this nice walk in the rain, I got out the golf umbrella, a light raincoat and I even practiced the notes of the musical scale, just in case I was inspired to sing while I was out there with the rain twinkling down.  Did I sound like Julie Andrews singing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do?  No, not really, but I can still belt out that song I learned in grade school and remember from “The Sound of Music” …  can you?

Unfortunately, by the time it was light enough to head out, a torrential rain was pounding on the patio roof, accompanied by some thunder boomers, so I just stayed inside.  That rain continued through around mid-day.  I’m not talking about the occasional spit or light drizzle – this was a driving rain, coursing through the gutters.  Thankfully the leaves were not clogging up the sewer grates as the streets would have been flooded.


Stewing over the rain was not the only thing on my mind.  Soon thereafter, it was the fear of impending tornadic activity.  Just like turning on a light switch, our coolish weather had returned to hot and muggy temps and very high dew points again Tuesday morning, spawning a flurry of warnings about possible severe weather, depending on how hot the temps were by late afternoon.  Mother Nature decided to play dirty with the Downriver area of Southeast Michigan.  There were increased severe storm warnings as the afternoon progressed, while meteorologists hovered over their charts and models, putting their heads together to predict if the warm and unstable atmosphere would be ripe for a tornado, and, if so … when.

Unfortunately my regular news radio station was broadcasting exhibition hockey on the radio and streaming it as well, and the other news station had a medical program on.  I was still online at Twitter, monitoring the Tweets by the National Weather Service Detroit Bureau and my favorite meteorologist, Paul Gross, when sure enough, radar indicated rotation was spotted and the first alert came out around 8:15 p.m.

Too close for comfort.

I shut down the laptop as the sky started rumbling with great gusto, and I turned on two radios simultaneously.  Out of one ear, I listened to Red Wing hockey, interspersed with weather bulletins; in the other ear, talk show host Mark Levin’s program was interrupted by the Emergency Alert System, as that shrill sound alerting impending danger was played just prior to the announcement that a tornado had been spotted and was headed northeast.  Its arrival was pinpointed for nearby Southgate and Wyandotte by 9:10 p.m. – “take cover immediately” the voice said.   I turned off the radios to listen for the City’s emergency siren – there was nothing, but I headed downstairs to the basement, heart pounding and feeling a little wobbly.

Our City’s emergency siren never sounded.  They test the alarm system the first Saturday of the month at 1:00 p.m., so I know it works.  So, more angst – wondering and worrying.  I waited about a half hour and heard and felt nothing, so I dared to go upstairs.  I turned on the two radios –  the hockey game was still on, and Mark Levin was still rehashing the Cosby verdict and Kavanaugh drama.  I went to bed.

A trio of tornadoes.

The early news this morning reported severe weather had wreaked havoc in three Downriver cities last night and luckily no one was killed or injured.  At that time, it was undetermined if it was tornadoes or straight line winds that blew through with approximately 100 mph wind strength.  I was just in this area last Saturday.  It was still dark outside, so no pictures were available yet, but when I checked out the damage online later, I saw massive trees uprooted, cars crushed, a trampoline suspended in the power lines and garages where wind gusts blew the garage door inward – all very horrific.  Later in the day it was confirmed that three small tornadoes touched down:  first in Frenchtown – 8:23 p.m.; second in Rockwood – 8:45 p.m. and finally in Gibralter at 8:55 p.m.   Their statistics are here.

Mercifully the tornadic activity dissipated at the Detroit River instead of  proceeding Downriver.  I feel lucky and blessed … this happened between 12 to 18 miles from where I live and is the second bout of severe tornadic weather to hit this part of Southeast Michigan, the last being on July 31st.


After hearing the report on the aftermath of the tornadoes, this morning I left a little lighter in heart and on my feet.  It was so soggy this morning, that I hesitated to walk to Council Point Park, plus, though no rain was predicted, the skies were a mottled shade of various grays and didn’t look too promising for a walk.  I figured the many trees at the Park would be dripping down so I just stayed in the ‘hood.  The winds were clipping along with gusts to 20 mph and some of the harvest décor is already sodden from the recent soakers.  Thank goodness I took these pictures on a sunny morn when everything still looked good.

pagel avenue


So, 6.4 inches of rain in September; one more inch and we’ll break a longstanding record.  We don’t have to break that record on Sunday afternoon, our next rain event, but I won’t complain anymore about the rain – just please no more bouts of severe weather.

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