The early morning news reported much slippin’ and slidin’ on the roads from that pesky dusting of snow, so I figured, just as I’d suspected, there would be no meanderings in the Park for me today.
But, when I got ready to go out and sweep the snow and run the car, I looked outside first and was pleasantly surprised to find all the snow had melted. The sky was bright blue, the sun was shining – what more could anyone want on the third Sunday in February, after a Winter that has been so harsh? In record time, I suited up, grabbed the camera and stuffed some Ziploc bags of peanuts into my pockets and off I went.
Mercifully, the streets and sidewalks were dry and ice-free, thanks to that bright sunshine. While I wasn’t happy the Groundhog saw his shadow a few weeks ago, it sure felt good to see my own shadow as I walked along. The snow, which was so pretty last weekend, is now streaked with street dirt and reduced to rivulets racing toward, and gurgling through, the sewer drains.
At Council Point Park, yesterday’s icy patches along the perimeter path were gone, and, where the sun had not yet melted last night’s snow, I walked alongside the trail to risk falling on ice hidden by the light dusting of snow.
Saturday morning might have been too cold for the majority of the Park squirrels to come down from their cozy nests, but not today. A trio of squirrels came racing over to see me as soon as I reached the pavilion area.
I greeted my little buddies and scattered some peanuts, then propped my pocket open so I could access peanuts easily with one hand, so I could try to take some photos.
In some areas, the snowpack is still high.
The newly fallen snow had settled onto the iced-up portions of the Creek, as well as the wooden docks along the Creek banks.
Another slew of squirrels came to see me and one was hovering near my shoe while I was trying to take a photo, so I doled out some peanuts and watched as they each grabbed one eagerly.
Across the snow-covered grassy area, one squirrel saw all the action, and not wanting to miss out on it, stood up for a better look.
He apparently liked what he saw (not necessarily me of course, but that bag of peanuts sure was a draw), so I shook the bag and said “c’mon over here and get some” so he scampered over right away. Really – like you needed an invitation?
The third time I stopped for a peanut-induced feeding frenzy, I had four squirrels close by waiting for handouts. I decided this was a good photo opportunity, so I dropped a load of peanuts. However, trying to get all four squirrels in the picture without one scurrying away to bury the peanut or take it “to go” was impossible. So I settled for two squirrels in the photo.
This little guy stepped away from the maddening crowd and climbed into this short tree, where he chomped on his peanut.
I was taking that close-up shot of him, when Todd, the weekend jogger, came by. He said “if you’re taking photos, how about that big heron in the old dead tree over there?” He pointed and my eyes could just not hone in that heron within all the dead wood in the old tree across the Creek. Then I saw him, nearly camouflaged by the weathered branches. Can you see him?
I excused myself and left the trail, saying I had to get closer and hopefully I didn’t slide into the Creek in doing so. This is about as close as I dared to go as I stood on the cement landing. I’m sure that heron saw me coming down the trail, so he flew up into that tree. If there was a thought bubble over his head, it read “I’ll fix her – she always wants a close-up picture, distracting me while I’m trying to find my breakfast!”
I zoomed in and took about twenty shots of him, hoping at least one came out that did not resemble a bluish-gray blob on a branch. I was pleasantly surprised.
The mallards were milling around the cement landing where I was standing. They usually go into the drain underneath the ledge for protection in the Winter months. The Ecorse Creek is much wider right here, the current is swift, and, unless it is below-freezing temps, the water generally stays ice-free.
There were several walkers on the trail today and I didn’t know any of them. I stopped to chat with two men who were watching me feed the squirrels, and they told me they walk around 11:00 a.m. daily. They’d recently seen an eagle flying over Council Point Park, as well as snakes in the Summer near where I had walked down to the take the picture up at the very top of this blog post. Yikes! I go down there all the time to gaze at the water. Maybe I’ll gaze from the trail going forward.
My last pit stop was in the pavilion area where I glanced at the picnic table and saw shells and red skins that remained from the peanuts I left there yesterday. Since my treats were discovered, I left some more for the squirrels who slept in this morning.
It was a great day – sunshine, clear and dry pavement, just perfect … plus I walked five miles today, which was even better!