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.
Much of Council Point Park was still covered in snow.
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.
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.
I zoomed in and got a few nice shots of them from afar… the one looks cross-eyed here.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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! https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mute_Swan/sounds …)
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 …
… then to the right …
… then they finally regrouped once I hid behind a tree.
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.
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!