The clock alarm started buzzing, interrupting my sound sleep. “Alright already!” I cried, as if that statement alone would stop the annoying noise. I thought about today’s agenda and was prepared to hit the snooze button at least a dozen times before getting up. Grocery shopping and housework didn’t appeal to me much and today’s walk would likely be incorporated into the trip to the grocery store.
I switched on the news and heard the weather forecast – 40s and a bright and sunny day with a potential inch of snow tonight. Well, there goes the walking … for a few days anyway, until the sidewalks and pathway are clear again. In a heartbeat I said “Pfft” and decided my task list could wait for another time, because I was going to River for a long walk and to take some pictures and enjoy my day … so there!
I’ve been inspired by a fellow blogger’s sunrise and sunset photos which accompany his blog posts, and, it is difficult to take such a picture here at the house with no obstructions in my view, so I aimed to get to Bishop Park in Wyandotte to catch some rays so to speak. I missed the mark on capturing those vibrant shades like Keith does at https://uncletreeshouse.com/ … but, by the time I drove five miles to the Detroit River, I still was able to enjoy some of the sunrise with this view from Bishop Park and its river walk:
I strolled along, mere inches from the Detroit River which gently lapped against the pier as I walked by.
Besides me, there was a walker, a jogger and a pair of geese who indulged me with their synchronized swimming routine. The seagulls must’ve been out scrounging for breakfast, as they were conspicuously absent.
I stayed at that venue about an hour, then headed along the same street to John Dingell Park in Ecorse. It is similarly situated along the riverfront and just a few miles down the road. I had never been to this park, but have heard about the eagles that live on Mud Island, which is one of several coastal wetlands in the Detroit River. The Ecorse Channel separates the City of Ecorse and its riverfront from this 22-acre uninhabited island that is refuge to deer and many species of birds, including eagles. Below is a photo showing Mud Island in the foreground.
I arrived around 9:30 and several people were already gathered on the pavilion hoping to see some of those eagles. I spoke with a couple who told me they saw 23 of them in one afternoon recently. They each had their binoculars trained on Mud Island, where the eagles like to fly from tree to tree, or swoop down onto the ice-covered water in Winter. I was told there were more eagle sightings this year since it had been such a brutally cold season, causing most of the Detroit River to freeze over.
I soon discovered I was not the only person interested in watching the eagles. In the pavilion area, people seemed to be divided into two factions: the serious “birders” with their elaborate photography equipment such as cameras on tripods with extra-long lenses, and then there were the folks who were glued to the horizon via their binoculars. Every so often you would hear oohs and ahhs when an eagle flew across from Mud Island and landed on an ice floe, like this:
He had a magnificent wingspan.
A few of us kindred souls gathered together to enjoy the ducks that were either frolicking or snoozing nearby, in water so clear you could see through it.
A Mute Swan was hunkered down near the pavilion area and spent most of its time preening, as it let its guard down, seemingly unaffected by the close proximity to all these humans using smartphones or cameras to capture its regal beauty.
“Ho hum” is all it seemed to say and continued on about its business …
… that is, until a young man standing near me unpeeled a banana and started throwing chunks of it toward this beautiful creature. The swan was immediately energized, stopping its beauty routine, to grab and gulp down some banana pieces. I turned to the gentleman and said “who knew?” He seemed surprised as well, and soon the swan came right up to the pavilion railing, poking its long orange bill close to the man’s hand, eager to finish off that entire tasty treat. But instead, his benefactor tossed out the remaining banana pieces to the mallards, who similarly clamored for a sweet tidbit by waddling closer with their wide webbed feet and quacking all the while.
I watched as this man then pulled some walnuts out of a bag and threw them toward the swan and ducks, and once again there was a mad rush, with the swan getting the majority of the treats. I said I wished I had something to give them, but only had peanuts which were stuffed in my pocket. He said “you could try – I don’t think it would choke him, do you?” So I tossed out one, and the swan grabbed it, cracked open the shell and gobbled it down in a second. I turned to the young man and said “please don’t let me get home and Google ‘is it safe to feed swans peanuts?’ and discover it is a no-no for their diet.” He laughed. (I Googled and it is okay to feed them peanuts – whew!)
I left the feeding frenzy and strolled along the river walk at Dingell Park enjoying the beautiful day.
There were many large pieces of ice floating along in the River’s swift current. They sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight, and, as they bumped up against one another, it sounded like the clink of ice cubes in a glass.
The Canada Geese were everywhere, swimming in pairs, or large groups, and I was lucky enough to be gazing at some geese when their signal caller told them it was time to take off. They left the surface of the water in a flurry and I wondered what the hurry was as they made a lot of noise just to fly over to the Park area to graze on the grass.
After walking the riverfront twice, I went to take one last photo and the camera rebelled saying “charge battery!” I guess I took too many pictures today.
Like the geese, it was time for me to fly as well, but I hated to head home on this beautiful Sunday, so I decided to go to my old standby, Council Point Park, to get a few more miles walked. Might as well make the squirrels’ day too. I walked two loops, the equivalent of two miles, there.
I ended up putting a dozen miles on the car, five miles on my feet and a wide smile on my face today.
A wonderful day in the life of Linda with lots of views and treats!
Your pictures came out really well, methinks.
Water makes for great reflections and wavy lines of color.
And eagles, oh! With that kind of lure, I’d be drawn in far too often.
I especially like the 2nd shot of the bridge with crooked legs — nice lines!
Bright icy shots with big wild birds — a fine variety of color and contrast in those shots.
And thanks for the nod! 🙂 Here’s a toast for your post. “Cheerz!”
Have a great Monday! Keith
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It was a wonderful day Keith and I was sorry to come home, but I wanted to write a blog post narrative for the pictures and had to pick through a ton of images to do so. I am glad you liked the pictures and I liked that second sunrise shot as well. I can’t recall noticing the reflections/wavy-looking pier legs when I took the picture, as I wanted to hurry before the sun brightened up the sky too much. You are lucky your house faces a golf course, so you get an unobstructed view of the sun. Me … I’d have to sit on the rooftop to get a similar shot. The image of the eagle on the ice floe was not as close up as I would have liked (zoom envy), but he was halfway between the shoreline and Mud Island, so I’m lucky to have gotten anything at all. Using the point-and-shoot camera into the sky to catch him flying was a crapshoot – I got it, but had to crop it bigtime. The various SE Michigan weather forecasters, are predicting the last two weeks in February will be bitter cold, so perhaps more eagles will be leaving their nests and coming close to shore, so I will definitely go back there again … like you, those eagles were a draw for me. The ducks, geese and swan were a treat for me as they were right near the pavilion area. Next time I’ll take food for them and get some more up-close photos. And I’ll take along the binoculars. The sunny sky and the ice floating by on a lazy Sunday made a perfect day for me … it doesn’t take much to make me happy.
Miss Linda……………………….that was an awesome tour of our 2 nearest parks right on the Detroit River…………………..you did a great job with the pictures and the story ………………..I’m going to have to revisit this blog again
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I’m glad you liked it Ann Marie … it was such a beautiful day on Sunday, I felt I had to go enjoy the day. It was my first time to Dingell Park at Southfield and Jefferson, and I will be returning for sure. Next time I’ll take binoculars and hopefully see more eagles. I’m such a sucker for ducks as you know, and they were everywhere. I learned a lot about the park and its riverfront from speaking to the people who go there all the time … a few of them told me they walk at Council Point Park too.
I wonder if that Swan is getting weak? Which might explain why it didn’t flee but rather ate whatever was thrown to it.
You know Wayne that someone else said that when the swan was enjoying the banana pieces – they said it might be sick to come up so close, but I piped up with “maybe it was hungry, there were ice floes on the river and with the ice just beginning to break up, maybe there were no reeds or plant life to access”. It did not act listless at all and I was watching it meticulously preening its feathers before the feeding frenzy – such a beautiful bird. I had never seen a swan that close up – it was just a few feet from the pavilion overlook where we all were standing. Then a week or so later I was at Council Point Park and taking pictures of a pair of swans when the larger (assuming the male) paddled over the Creek banks, was snorting at me, then climbed up and stomped over after me … pretty quickly and assertively I might add! What saved the day was I remembered the swan in this picture enjoying peanuts … I am never without peanuts in my pocket all Winter, or hanging on the fanny pack in a mesh bag the rest of the year. I tossed peanuts and he went for them and I hightailed it out of there.
they all have different personalities!
That Swan shouldn’t be getting that close.
It might have been lured, then stayed, after seeing people with food – the next time I went with binoculars to watch the eagles, the swan wasn’t there, but neither were the ducks. I had taken food with me – prepared to dole it out and no one home, but the seagulls and they are always interested in food.
I’m just not sure about this Swan? It could get attacked by a dog.
It wasn’t a real big area where the swan and ducks gathered and they would have easy access to get back into the water, though you could see how icy it was … the ducks were kind of picking their way through the ice to get back into the water. A dog can’t get down there … the pavillion overlooks the water at this place. It’s not a nature-type park, just a walkway along the Detroit River and the eagles live on Mud Island which is uninhabited. Hopefully it was just hungry. It sure liked banana! I fed the birds this morning and put most of it out front where I could see if they ate it and went to the front door around 3:30 and it was all still there – too bad it was not darker bread, they might have spotted it then. They go into my pyracantha bush as it is dense and still has some leaves, no more orange berries, gone now. If it is quiet in the house, I can hear them twittering away in there from my kitchen or bathroom. And Grady didn’t come back for the rest of his loot … I lined up peanuts on the ledge. He likely filled up on peanuts this morning, then headed back to the nest with his kin.