The way I see it, today and tomorrow, will be tolerable for walking and the rest of the week will be like being in a sauna. I pity the people who work outside on hot days. They must get used to it, but still … this Summer has taken its toll on people, plants and even our wildlife.
But, this morning I went on my usual jaunt down the Boulevard, with a spring in my step, as my skin was cooled by a light breeze – ahhh, that felt good, so there would be no problem making the round trip to the tracks and back in record time.
As usual, I glanced both ways to peer into the water under the bridge, scanning the scum-covered creek for ducks, but there were none, only that light green film which has settled over portions of the still water like an icky and sticky cloak.
There haven’t been any ducks near the footbridge for at least one month and I fear that they have met the same fate as the mallards in Trenton. Earlier in July, more than fifty dead mallard ducks were lined along Marsh Creek in Trenton. The Department of Natural Resources came to take water samples of the creek water and took a few of the ducks and duckling along to test them. The DNR concluded that the weather has been so hot that it caused the water in the creek bed to recede, creating the botulism caused by the growing bacteria that has been able to grow in that area. The ducks and ducklings drank the water and became sick and died.
Like me, people who lived near Marsh Creek enjoyed interacting with the ducks and listening their lively quacking noises. That little joy is gone now at Marsh Creek.
And … maybe as to my mallards at Ecorse Creek at the footbridge as well.
The water has surely never been clear, but before you could see fish swimming beneath the surface or fish lips stirring the surface as they nibbled on seaweed-like plants that undulate slightly in the dark water. I even miss the bullfrogs burping deeply in the quiet morn. No turtles either. Sadly, not even a water strider is visible as I peer in the Creek daily.
There is still cause to pause a minute anyway … despite the water’s grungy appearance, there are birds to watch and enjoy.
The Tree Swallows dart in and out of the leafy branches of the trees that tower the footbridge. The swallows blitz by at the speed of sound and dive bomb me nearly every day. Maybe this is because I’ve tried to capture their picture one too many times. They are too quick for me, but, I haven’t given up yet, and before the Summer is over, I will write about them and their antics and maybe include a picture as well.
Red-Winged Blackbirds perch on low branches of the trees or sometimes bend down a reed which threatens to break with their weight. They are large birds and sing mightily. Their voices carry in the still of the morn and their heavenly music reminds me of a meadow in the middle of nowhere and I long to be there.
I’m sure missing those quacking ducks and their peaceful presence as they glide through the water, or the ruckus they would occasionally make when another duck dared to enter their personal space.
I’ve stopped carrying bits of stale bagels or buying bread ‘til the ducks return – if they return. Maybe next year?