Brr, burrs and birds.

bench with snow


What a beautiful day we had today!  A perfect weather weekend with two days of sunshine in a row.  Yesterday, I only walked laps in the snow at Memorial Park because I thought it would be too icy at Council Point Park.   But today I waited until it was above freezing to go out, so I did not have to fear the dreaded black ice on the perimeter path.

It was 33 degrees when I departed the house, but a little blustery.

Earlier in the morning, I had divvied up three large bags of peanuts into Ziploc pouches and I could faintly detect the smell of fresh peanuts wafting from those bags that were stuffed into the cargo pockets of my squall jacket.  All I needed was my furry friends to come eat them, and right at the get-go, there were takers.

After Thursday’s messy weather combo of rain which morphed into wet snow, our official tally is 57.7 inches of snow this year.  The average amount for the same time period is 34.2 inches.  As I neared the cement landing, I was surprised to see just how high the Ecorse Creek has risen as a result of all the snow and torrential rain we’ve been having.  This photo shows the water rising almost to the top of the cement landing.  Usually the ducks seek shelter under the landing in this storm sewer area, but, I guess at this rate of quickly rising water, they’d better duck, or they’ll likely bump their heads on the cement.

cement landing.jpg

Much of Council Point Park was still covered in snow.

snow in park

The stiff breeze was rippling the water in places.  I managed to walk at least halfway through the first looped pathway before I encountered ice and snow on the path – no problem, I just walked alongside the path on the snow.

icy path

Here I saw two Canada geese waddling around looking for a good spot to graze, and occasionally dipping their beak into a snow-covered area.  However, they were good sports about letting me take their picture – usually I get the wing-flapping and hissing (even with the pink tongue flapping away), but they cooperated today.  Give them a few more months, when the goslings are in tow, and they won’t be fit to be around.


While scoping out the elusive heron, who was not hiding in any of the weathered old trees, nor fishing in the water for his brunch, I saw a large flash of white in the sky, then heard two big splashes in the water.  I knew it wasn’t geese as they usually honk incessantly when they are coming in for a landing, so I double-backed and scurried to the other end of the path, hurriedly doling out a few peanuts to a couple of my squirrel pals who were at my heels trying to keep up with me.

Just as I suspected, there were two beautiful mute swans in the water.  One was much smaller, so I guess they were mates.

two swans far

I zoomed in and got a few nice shots of them from afar… the one looks cross-eyed here.

two swans semi

I wanted to get some close-up photos, but the crunch, crunch, crunch of the icy snow under my hiking boots alerted them to my presence right away.  Interestingly, they both came close to the Creek bank where I was standing, occasionally dipping their slender necks into the water.  I wondered how their feathers could be so white with such murky water to swim in and drink from.

header maybe1.jpg

The larger swan came right within a few feet of the bank where I was standing, repeatedly making snorting noises.  I didn’t particularly pay attention to those loud snorts; after all, he had been submerging his head in the water.  Unlike her uncouth counter-part, the smaller swan was behaving in a lady-like manner … no snorting noises from her.

big swan at creek bank.jpg

I must have really piqued the large swan’s interest, as suddenly, he used his huge, black webbed feet to climb up the edge of the Creek bank for an up-close-and-personal-look at the woman who was so intrigued with him.  His head was down, and his mouth was open, and I had to back up pretty quickly, while keeping my eyes trained on him and that very long orange beak.  He was really snorting loudly, and by now I was out of the marshy area and onto the snowy grass.  With the camera in my right hand, I quickly dug into my left pocket and fished out a half-dozen or so peanuts and tossed them onto the ground.  I remembered how that mute swan enjoyed the peanuts the day I was at Dingell Park.

He ambled toward them and away from me, and, with his long neck stretched over, beak opened wide, he grabbed one.  Whew!

swan eating peanuts

But, despite his treat, I was not going to get away so easily as he gave a huge snort, and sent a dirty look my way.

mute swan chasing me.jpg

I beat a hasty retreat and never looked back!

(When I sat down at the computer tonight, I Googled “what type of sounds do mute swans make?”  Since, their moniker is “mute swan”, I was curious – perhaps they make no noises.  I discovered when mute swans are agitated, they make a snorting or hissing noise.  I listened to the audio – yup, that was it! …)

Needless to say, I was happy to be on the perimeter path again and breathed a sigh of relief when a couple of squirrels came running over … squirrels I can handle, the swan not so much.

I remembered to check up into the tree where the rat was hanging by its tail and I sure was happy to discover it is now gone.  So the mystery remains how it got up there, and where did it go?  We may never find out.

While my gaze was focused on scanning the bare trees for signs of the rodent, I heard a lot of quacking.  The trees partially blocked my view, but I could see at least a dozen drakes coming in for a landing on the surface of the Creek.  I edged closer to the bank to get a photo, but once again, my boots pressed into the icy snow, and those ducks were immediately skittish.  They dispersed, darting this way and that, first to the left …

left ducks.jpg

… then to the right …

right ducks

… then they finally regrouped once I hid behind a tree.

ducks in middle.jpg

Pretty clever on my part I thought – it was duck soup!   Those mallards, all males, except one, were quite a sight to see, their iridescent green heads glinting in the sunlight.

I took several shots of the ducks, when out of the corner of my eye I could see one insistent squirrel chomping at the bit for some peanuts.  It was Parker, who didn’t nab me when I first got there and soon he was stepping on the toe of my boot, so I reached into my pocket, without taking my eye from the camera, and I felt something prickly in my fingerless gloves.  I looked down to find burrs were hanging off my coat where I’d traipsed through the swamp grass to get a better view of the swans.

mitts with burrs.jpg

I had to peel those fingerless gloves off and shove them into another pocket, so I didn’t get burrs mixed into the peanuts, nor around the camera lens.  Of course Parker was impatient as I dug around for some peanuts after messing with all my paraphernalia.  Finally, I appeased him.


The sun might have been shining, but it wasn’t really warm enough for bare hands – so it was brr and burrs as a result of birds!

After a glorious walk in the Park, I got home with a sunny disposition, four miles walked and believe it or not – burrs in my britches!

burrs in britches.jpg

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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41 Responses to Brr, burrs and birds.

  1. Amusing — brr, burrs and birds! You had a wonderful walk!

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Anne – it was wonderful, even the swan … cantankerous old thing! It was not like I was aggravating him and his mate. I was merely taking pictures, but you saw him right near the water’s edge. He just marched up the bank and it looked kind of funny as you never see a swan standing – what big feet! He strutted over to me and good thing I didn’t trip over a tree stump or something walking backward – I was afraid to turn my back on him.

      • I laughed, because we had a guest who was chased by a swan. Our town on Long Island had a millpond with resident swans. Cantankerous was the name for them, too. I’m glad you didn’t trip walking backwards.

  2. Michael says:

    Spring may be sprung u know…!loving mallards and the squirrel . swans however scare me but not as much as geese!

    Happy walking !

    • lindasschaub says:

      That was the first time I encountered the swan Michael – I was not doing anything to antagonize him so don’t know why he clinbed out of the water to “get me” –
      he had powerful feet and was walking very quickly and luckily I remembered those peanuts – I was at another park and everyone was feeding a mute swan and I had nothing for it so tossed peanuts out and he liked them. The geese are pretty cantankerous, especially once they have their goslings with them. They hiss and flap their wings so you have to move out of the way – they crowd the walking path. I’ll have a nice walk today, then snow flurries/rain and ugly weather the rest of the week – bummer.

      • Michael says:

        Snow flurries and angry animals sounds delightful !

        Apparently geese make great guard animals !

      • lindasschaub says:

        Now there’s an idea and if they eat enough grass – you could save on mowing! Here in Michigan, there are some rural lots where they find it easier to buy goats and let them graze as the lots are full of grass and weeds and not easy to get at with a riding mower or one of the wider mowers … so Cities and Townships, etc. buy goats … not for everyone, but it keeps it cleaner looking.

      • Michael says:

        And its so very quaint too…

      • lindasschaub says:

        I have a new follower from the UK – he writes a blog about walking and has a weekly radio program where he recreates the walk, which he blogged about with pictures earlier in the week. So, last week the walk had snow because of your heavy snow there. His program is called “Walking Wandsworth” and his podcast is (He had no critters chasing him though.)

      • Michael says:

        Oh in think that’s near Newbury ! Far from here but I’ve been past that neck of the woods. Pretty indeed…

        Ill take a look 🙂

      • lindasschaub says:

        He just started following me a week ago and I gather he makes the same trip weekly and records people along the way. As to the comment I made on his WordPress site, he asked if he could use/record my comment for his weekly podcast. I said “sure” – I commented on the trees that looked like slingshots. Here they cut the trees like that to prune them so they don’t touch the power lines – the look like a row of wooden slingshots. His name is Dominic Dalston (he goes by “Dom”).

      • lindasschaub says:

        Well, as I was writing you, I heard from Dom … I had asked about the trees, so he replied and sent me the link (which I am presuming was the recording of my comment). I pasted the link below if you get a chance – I’ve not listened to it yet …

        Hi Linda, I asked that Nicola about that. They are pollarded and cut back and maintained like that. I’m not sure if it is the civic council that do it or the guerrilla gardener. Have you heard the podcast? Please give it a listen. I’m trying to get it to trend on Mixcloud Last week we got 1300 listens. It’s a long way off that this week.Thanks for reading and supporting

      • Michael says:

        I will take a look later and give him a listen it’s always intriguing to stumble across new things you never know what you’re going to find do you

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree … sounds like a fun idea capturing audio while blogging about a walk. So many things to read and see out there … I often wonder what we did with ourselves before social media.

      • Michael says:

        I think we just went for a nice walk instead of going for a nice walk and taking some photos and putting them on Facebook and then writing blogs about them and getting into discussions over them. I don’t know which one is better I mean I think it’s great to be able to share things and communicate with people from all over the world perhaps it’s a matter of balance it’s great to see someone’s walk and being out in nature and someone starts I’m normally less bothered by what they had for their dinner and that sort of thing

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree with you there – I’d rather see more of the world via these blog posts; there’s always room to expand your horizons.

      • lindasschaub says:

        Michael – for some reason WordPress is not allowing me to comment on posts, just like them … love the post about the pet that was lost (“To Love Through Loss”) … touching, tore me up, still misty. I don’t know if my comments will eventually show up – it’s rather annoying to be honest. First time it has happened. And commenting is just fine here, but not in “Reader”.

      • Michael says:

        I can see you 🙂 sometimes mine does that

      • lindasschaub says:

        OK, good because I got behind in Reader and set aside tonight to read posts/comment and could only do comments. Thanks for telling me it happens to you. I switched browsers – thought it was that at first.

      • Michael says:

        Sometimes i can’t even like …very frustrating

      • lindasschaub says:

        After I wrote this I wondered if it is because when reading Reader, I keep two tabs open … one to review comments/likes, etc. and the other in Reader (so I don’t lose my place). Maybe WordPress doesn’t like that –
        maybe I should use two different browsers when i do that. I do that in Facebook too as I have some people who post while I am trying to read my news feed, so I can respond to them and not lose my place. I’ll try that next time.

  3. I loved this walk – those swans oh my – wish they were on my pond – minus the hissing and snorting – I get enough of that from my peacock. That iridescent green – awesome – again I’d love to have them around – even for just a short visit. Parker the squirrel is magnificent – the burrs not so much. We get them too, they seem to cling to everything – dogs, cats, chickens, me… xo kim

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Kim, it was such a beautiful sunny day. I’ve heard that peacocks get a little big for their britches as well. This was the first encounter with the swan and I don’t know why it got so angry and rambunctious with me as I didn’t tease it or do anything but take the pictures. Those big feet … he caught up to me in record time. They are beautiful birds though and the water is so murky, I don’t know how they stay so white. Those burrs were everywhere – the coat has velcro closures on the pockets and somehow I had burrs clinging onto the velcro and the gloves will have to be picked out, piece by piece. Parker is a cutie – I have a cute picture of him for today standing next to me and our two shadows. He stands out from the rest of the crowd, having latched onto me … I am a softie when it comes to animals. 🙂

      • Linda I’m wondering if it is breeding season for the swans as it is for our Peas which make them very territorial and aggressive. Good luck with those burrs.

      • lindasschaub says:

        That must have been it Kim because I was really not doing anything to harm him or his mate and there were no cygnets there. I’ve only seen a swan there twice before and by itself and it was minding its own business … swimming and preening in both instances.
        That does make sense. The burrs had to be picked out with tweezers, and they got embedded in the wool glove, so each little piece had to come out …. grrrrr.

  4. Jill Wellington says:

    You still have snow! I love those pretty swans and ducks! What a lovely walk!

    • lindasschaub says:

      We do Jill … I still have it in the front yard as it stays shady for so long, and, at the Park, especially down by the water where the bushes and swamp reeds keep the sun from melting the snow. You could see how thick that snow was with that big swan was once he came out of the water and chased me! It was a glorious day for a walk, with all that bright sunshine and all the beautiful birds were certainly a plus. Nice sun today as well – last day though, as we’re going to have snow Tuesday through Thursday – hope you get some in your neck of the woods as well.

  5. Uncle Tree says:

    What a wonderful post, Linda! 🙂 Ya’all have swans up there. How fortunate,
    and educational, too. I had no idea how the mute came to be a part of their name.
    Good thing you are quick on your feet. Very good shots of him eating your peanuts!

    Love the Mallards teal heads.We don’t see them around here much, either.
    Hope to see buds on limbs real soon here and there. It’s cold and windy again here.

    The burrs look a lot like Morning Glory seeds. 😉 Stay warm! Uncle Tree

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked it – I thought you might get a kick out of the swan as we have discussed the fractious ganders before.

      I’ve been walking at Council Point Park for five years this May and have only seen a mute swan twice – one gliding down the middle of the water and I was ecstatic seeing this graceful bird. The second mute swan was across the Creek sitting near someone’s dock preening itself.

      These two flew down into the water. You could tell how close he was – he moved fast once he climbed out of the water … I was taking his pic at the water’s edge and the next minute he was in my face! I was lucky I didn’t trip walking backward as there is a lot of brush and old tree stumps in that area. His snorting was as loud as that audio clip – who knew he was mad?

      There are a lot of mallards at that Park, one wood duck one time … must’ve lost his way. I like seeing their beautiful plumage. They lose that that green head plumage after mating season – they moult and look like the females, dull and drab mottled brown feathers with a slight green tinge to the head.

      It was cold and windy this morning – I’m writing a post now … wind was stinging cold, but it was clear. We have snow coming tonight, and a wintry mix the next two days. Walking will take a back seat to shoveling once again.

      The burrs were a pain – plucked them off my pants easily, but not so much from the gloves. My coat has velcro inside the pocket flaps and got burrs onto the velcro on top of it.

      Lots of swamp grass, pampas grass and bulrushes at the Creek. It obliterates the view sometimes , especially once everything is green again.

      Stay warm too Uncle Tree.

  6. Love the swans and the squirrels!

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Valerie – it was a fun walk, despite the swan. A beautiful early March day and we’ve had a cold, snowy (and overlong) Winter here in Southeast Michigan. The sun really brightened up the day and the walk!

  7. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………….after reading your blog for today……..remind me never to get too close to a swan………………… mean they are as bad as the Canadian geese??………………………..and I just love Mr. parker’s picture

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – I thought that swan was worse than the geese – at least you know where you stand with the geese and not to stand too close to them or risk being “charged” by them or enduring some hissing and wing-flapping, even if you don’t touch them, and even if you are giving them some treats! This swan surprised me … one minute I was taking pictures of the two swans floating along by that bend where the park bench is and you can see way down the creek (just past that twisted-up tree) and the next thing, he stepped out of the water and was going after me. He was huge and the snorting … I thought he was just doing that as he kept submerging his head in the water – no, it turns out he was angry at me … the equivalent of a Canada goose hiss I guess. Well no harm to me in the end, but my heart was pounding. I could picture standing on a park bench because he couldn’t climb up there but that beak looks lethal and I’m sure he could have pecked my feet or calves if I was up on the park bench!!

  8. burrs are the reason why we have velcro!
    The VELCRO® brand of hook and loop was invented by a man named George de Mestral in the 1940’s while hunting in the Jura mountains in Switzerland. Mr. de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, realized that the tiny hooks of the cockle-burs were stuck on his pants and in his dog’s fur and wondered how they attached themselves.

    • lindasschaub says:

      I didn’t know that Wayne but Velcro is wonderful. I have it on my squall jacket that I wear all Winter … it is on the inside of each of the pocket flaps to keep them secure. It also catches on those fingerless gloves and pulls them, so when I have the camera and those gloves on, I have to prop the pockets open to get access to the Ziploc bags of peanuts in my coat pockets without snagging them on the Velcro as it tends to do. Soon (if Spring ever arrives) I will go to a lighter coat, then back to the fanny pack and I hang a mesh bag for the peanuts from the fanny pack and the camera goes into the fanny pack pouch part – I can be hands-free again. I had to pick the burr pieces out one by one with a pair of tweezers as they were so embedded in the gloves!

  9. Iriowen says:

    Wow! You have several gifts, I could never tell a male swan from a female. They are beautiful! 💕🌺

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