The Early Bird Catches the Worm.


Saturday began with a soggy start and the entire day was nothing special weather-wise.  I just walked in the ‘hood and decided not to write a post about it.

But today was a different story.  There’s nothing like bright sunshine to start your day off right – that sun even made me forgive Mother Nature  for making it downright cold on April 29th.  The pointer of the thermometer on my neighbor’s deck hovered right at the freezing mark when I left the house this morning.  Of course, it could be worse – to put it into perspective, the weatherman told us the western part of New York was getting lake-effect snow.

I shed a couple of articles of clothing, but was reluctant to get rid of the hat and fingerless mitts, so just 7 ½ different items as I swapped the knit hat for a knitted headband instead.

My first destinations were at the Detroit River to two different parks.  I saw no sense in driving to Heritage Park or Elizabeth Park, as beautiful as those two venues are, because the trees have not leafed out and there is nothing much to see there now … I’ll give it a few more weeks and visit then.

First, I headed to Bishop Park in Wyandotte.   As I neared the marina, I saw many pickup trucks with boat trailers lined up along Biddle Avenue, so I knew I was not going to be the first one at the riverfront.  I saw the cabin cruisers and luxury boats still shrink-wrapped and up on blocks … those boat owners are not going to put their pride and joy into the slips in the still-cold water.

Talk about the early bird catching the worm – those fisherman likely beat me by an hour as you see above.


A breeze was blowing and it was quite chilly at the waterfront.  There were several men standing or sitting on stools, bundled up in wool caps and gloves and Winter coats, as they patiently sat, poles in hand or propped up against the railing, hoping for a bite.  Still other fisherman were out in their boats or fishing along the smaller pier.


I chatted with a few of them as I strolled along the water’s edge and some already had caught a few fish.  They told me the walleye were running.  The water sparkled as the sun hit it.  I walked a half mile, then drove over to Dingell Park.

I had the same peaceful feeling at John Dingell Park, or Ecorse Park as it is also referred to.   I knew it was too early for the swans to have cygnets as the ones at Council Point Park were just building a nest last week and the eggs take six weeks to incubate, so this was just a mallard meet-and-greet event.

Just like at Bishop Park, fisherman likewise lined the pier, hopeful for a bite.


I know who did get a bite, and that was the ducks who were by the pavilion where I stationed myself with a cellophane bag of oyster crackers.  I like using them because they float on the top of the water, so none get wasted.   The three early bird mallards who were nosing around the reeds for breakfast got an unexpected treat and they honed right in and proceeded to gobble them up.  Oddly enough, no other ducks joined them.




See … the early bird catches the worm also works well in this instance.  Those mallards had their ducks in a row this morning, didn’t they?


The seagulls, those scavengers that ruin every food fest at the river’s edge, must have been snoozing since the mallards got about ten minutes of good eating before the first seagull flew in to join the party at the river’s edge.

One seagull tried balancing on the water to eat some crackers, but he made an ungraceful swoop, got all wet, so he and his wounded feelings beat a hasty retreat shortly after this photo was taken.


The seagulls buzzed and swooped for a few minutes then departed – someone on the boats must’ve had goodies as I saw them hanging around way down the river.  One hanger-on kept looking at me hopefully in case I had more treats.


I walked the waterfront twice for about another 1/2 mile then got in the car and drove to Council Point Park.

The grass had really greened up since I was there on Friday and a few more of those seedlings and saplings have leafed out, but it is not a grand show of color yet.  I saw some dandelions, but that is about all.

The squirrels, led by Parker, came running over like we were long-lost friends.  I chastised them for not coming over to see me on Friday and said “I didn’t punish you by not showing up yesterday, but instead I walked in the ‘hood and fed the ‘hood squirrels.”  They made no apologies, and neither did I, but as they circled around me I had a flashback wherein I felt like Ms. Montie, the children’s librarian at the Lincoln Park Library eons ago.

By the time we moved here from Canada, I was well past the age of being read to by Ms. Montie, but  I can remember going to the library to do research for book reports and term papers, and there was Ms. Montie, her glasses hanging down on a string, resting on her ample bosom, and her knitted shawl wrapped loosely around her shoulders.  She “held court” by sitting on a small stool while the kids sat on equally squat stools, so she was always at eye level with her charges.  Once everyone was quiet and stationed in their seat, she put on her glasses and begin to read a storybook.  She would tell that tale with animation and fanfare much to the delight of the little children.  So, I likewise commanded the attention of at least ten squirrels at one time today.  Everyone who walked by me remarked on the crowd of squirrels I had today.  I told those walkers that half my allowance goes for peanuts so they’d better be showing me some love!  I dispensed peanuts for a while and when everyone was satisfied, I headed off to walk, the main reason I was there after all.  The first two venues were mostly for photos, although I can’t resist a cute squirrel pose, so here are a few from Council Point Park.




A gaggle of geese were grateful for the grass that is fast becoming lush and they were in their glory as they nibbled delicately on the tender blades.


Today the group of about eight geese seemed unfazed as I rounded the bend, and there was no hissing or histrionics like Friday when I was treated to the pink tongue and wing flapping when all I did was stroll by.


As I passed the cement landing, a pair of geese were standing at attention.  I don’t know whether they were soul searching or merely sunbathing, but they looked deep in thought.


They posed this way and that as I watched them, happily clicking shot after shot, then suddenly they must  have had some secret code because there was one honk and in a flurry they were off.


Next, I heard a red-bellied woodpecker, and, for the first time ever, I was able to get a picture of one of these beautiful birds as he drilled into the tree.


I often hear the woodpeckers at the Park and I’ll glance up in the tree and see that red patch on the back of the head jerking back and forth while it taps away in staccato-like movements.  I gazed up at that tall tree and this little guy sure was gathering no moss as he moved from one side of the tree to the other, trying to find a fresh place to drill.  No wonder he had such a difficult time finding a drilling spot if you take a close look at the tree and its decay and how it is already riddled with “drill holes”.

Here he is giving me the side eye as he perches in the decayed wood.


Also included in the miscellaneous and sundry array of birds on this Sunday morning were a cardinal, red-winged blackbird and a heron.  This trio needs to remain as images in my head because as I caught sight of each of them, I had squirrels dancing around my feet and standing on their haunches for more peanuts, and, having only two hands, I couldn’t take a picture and dispense peanuts simultaneously, so something had to give.   There will be plenty of opportunities for photos, once I don’t need to fumble with gloves and can access the peanuts more readily then digging into the Ziploc bag each time.

Both the cardinal and the red-winged blackbird flew down from their respective trees to snatch a peanut I’d put out for the squirrels.  The heron got spooked as I walked past and was giving him the once-over while trying to determine whether that grayish blob in the tree was a bird or part of the tree.  He answered my unspoken question when suddenly the tree moved and all I saw was a grayish underbelly and a wide wingspan as he took flight.

Perhaps heading out the door on this frosty morning was not for everyone, but it was a perfect outing and a chance to get lots of  pictures to share in this post, plus I reached 251 miles walked so far in 2018.  Now, I only have 800 miles more to reach my goal by year end.  Whew!

So maybe the early bird really does catch the worm after all.

About Linda Schaub

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, so 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 four 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, though 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. - Linda Schaub
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32 Responses to The Early Bird Catches the Worm.

  1. Great shots, Linda! Especially like the woodpecker photos! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WalkFrederick says:

    You got some really nice pictures of birds and that squirrel! I never seem to be able to do that.

    What part of Canada did you come from? I went to university in Nova Scotia many moons ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks – glad you liked the pictures and the squirrels, if I’m lucky, take their peanut and race over to the grass or up in a tree to eat. That’s the time I nab them for a photo, because they rest of the time they scurry here, there and everywhere. I do come home, like today, with many more pictures than I can ever use. Some of just squirrel snouts, or tails, or just the grass – they run around so fast!

      I am originally from Canada – and many more moons ago than you. 🙂 I was born in Toronto in 1956 and lived there until we moved to Oakville when I was two. We moved to the States in 1966 when my father got transferred with Ford of Oakville to Ford of Woodhaven (Michigan). I am actually still a Canadian citizen though I’ve lived here all these years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AJ says:

    What beautiful walkways! We’re still waiting for some trees to get leaves!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you photographed a red-bellied woodpecker. One has come to our deck the last few days. It was the closest I’d ever seen one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you for telling me and I’ll change it – I have never heard of a red-bellied woodpecker and just Googled it and yes indeed – that is it. I was just going by the woodpecker that used to visit Marge’s suet. I will change it. I’ve not posted on Patch yet – still trying to read “Reader” and OMG it is 10:30 already! 🙂 They do look similar in color but this one, as you said, had more red on the back of the head when I perused the picture. Going to change it now – hope no one is in the middle of reading the post.


      • I just recently looked at hairy and downy woodpeckers on a video. They showed how to tell the difference between them without seeing them side by side. Of course, now I’m anxious to see if I can do it. Haven’t seen one since.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I was just going by the black and white plumage and red spot on the back of the head – Marge had a lot of suet feeders and often had pics of them eating it so I assumed that is what it was based on her pics – they did look similar though. This one was pretty big. The others I’ve seen have been a blur but much smaller.


      • Bird-watching is fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        It sure is. I used to love that magazine “Birds and Blooms” … I subscribed for years, then after my garden didn’t look so great, and I could no longer have birds, I just cancelled the subscription as it made me wistful for my slice of paradise that I had lost.

        Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I just fixed it Anne – thank you for telling me. Boy that woodpecker moved around a lot. In the five minutes I stood there watching it, it circled that tree multiple times and its head was darting to and fro while it found a clean place to “drill” and finally when it settled down I got three good shots. I liked this second one on the decayed wood – looked like he was wearing a sheepish look like “don’t hate me for doing this!” Years ago a neighbor had a tree that was so riddled with woodpecker holes, the tree had to be cut down.


  5. John says:

    So many beautiful photos you’ve taken! It must be a wonderful park with so much animals and nature.😊 I have not seen a single woodpecker for several months, just want to let me hear them.😁 When the sun starts to warm, it’s fast for bushes and trees to turn green. Here it became summer heat right after a long cold spring. Now, almost everything is green, not the full blow, but it’s really wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks John – it is a pretty park and the riverfront did not have as many ducks and geese as usual for some reason. Three ducks was a poor showing for my bag of oyster crackers but at least the seagulls stayed away for a few minutes to get some duck shots.:) I’ve heard that woodpecker (or his friends and family members) as long as I’ve walked there, but never got a good view of him til yesterday. Yesterday was a little bit greener but just the tiny saplings – not the full trees yet … just amazing for the end of April. We have 70 degrees today, 80 tomorrow and then heavy rains and severe weather on Thursday … too hot, too fast, with no happy medium.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Uncle Tree says:

    Good gully! 🙂 You have a whole slew of fine shots!
    From the furry to the feathery, do count yourself lucky, Linda.

    This post was worth all the time you spent walking, talking and shooting.
    Way to go! Keep on truckin’! Spring is here to stay. Looking forward to more…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you liked these photos Uncle Tree. I did spend a lot of time creating this blog post, from the picture-taking to the walking and talking … you are right and I’m glad the effort shows. I enjoyed my day and the weather was cold but otherwise perfect. I was especially happy with my woodpecker photos as those little guys have been elusive as long as I can remember. I think Spring is here for good now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebecca says:

    I sometimes hear or see woodpeckers, but they are very skittish and don’t stick around to be photographed. Very nice pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca. I felt lucky to get that woodpecker as I’ve been trying a long time – you are right about being skittish and he was in a really tall tree and still kept circling the tree and looking down at me warily.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. jmnowak says:

    Yeah, it’s good to get out by the water no matter how cold the weather. You had a good day, Linda! I really like the third pic down of the fisherman close up because one can just see wisps of smoke coming from the tall chimney in the background on the horizon; a good camera!!
    PS: Somehow I think you’ll reach your walking goal sooner than you think!


    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m sorry Janina … your comment went into SPAM for some reason. I have had that issue a lot over the last few weeks. It was a good day … beautiful but cold, but we are now having a couple of 80-degree days and with it comes some serious thunderstorms and possibly severe weather. So, I’d have preferred a “normal Spring day” … we’ve had anything but normal lately. The water for the two parks is at the Detroit River; where I usually walk is a large Creek and is is kind of murky looking, but still draws a lot of waterfowl much to my delight. There are some factories in the background and they always have the wisps of smoke coming from BASF Chemicals. Funny you say that about the camera – I looked at your photos, you a professional photographer, when I went to follow you, and this camera I am using is a digital camera, and I have 12X zoom and I shoot on automatic. Years ago I used to travel and had a 35mm camera and took some photography classes, but it seemed then, since I traveled with a tour group, it was easier to just shoot on automatic and hope for the best … I was usually lucky. Now, I still shoot on automatic on this camera and try to catch the critters without them running out of the frame. 🙂 I come home with three times as many pictures and often I just have beaks, snouts, tails missing as they ran or flew away from me before I got the picture. I am having a great time playing with the camera though. A fellow blogger has a 24X zoom camera – I guess that would be the next step up for me but this one works fine so I’ll just have zoom envy for a while longer. As to the walking goal, I try to walk one more mile than the prior year – last year for 2017 my goal was 755 and I kept going and going to 1,050 as the weather was good until the last few weeks of December. This year I got a slow start with all the snow, ice and we’ve had lots of rain – two all-day rainy days the end of this week. I tell myself the year is “young” though but it is a mighty big goal for me at any rate.


    • lindasschaub says:

      Also, I should have added this to my previous reply, but here is the same walk in Winter … lots of ice on the Detroit River, despite the swift current. You can see that same smoke stack at BASF Chemicals spewing out those wisps of smoke:


  9. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Dear Miss “early bird”…………………that is a very nice picture of the woodpecker…………………cool…………………and of course the up close of Mr. Parker and companions

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – I felt pretty lucky to get the picture of the woodpecker as I’ve seen him (or heard him) countless times and he is moving around so quickly I couldn’t take his picture. He cooperated this time. 🙂 Parker and his companions are easier to take photos of as they usually sit and eat their peanut quietly and without moving for few minutes … then they are on the move once again.


  10. Ellie P. says:

    Amazing close-up pics!! You’re a wonderful photographer, Linda!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Ellie – sometimes I am just lucky to get a close-up as the “subject” happens to be busy eating or just sitting/standing in one spot and not running to and fro. Going to the River is very peaceful and if you go before the crowd arrives, it is just you and the birds and they seem less skittish, so better photos.)

      I follow three women photographers whose blogs are mostly birds they see on the trail (one in her backyard) and they all take such beautiful photos; just amazing up-close photos. They are using larger digital or 35mm cameras though, so they can really hone in on their subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ruthsoaper says:

    You did get nice photos of the wood pecker. I have been hearing them often lately and spotted one about a week ago but it didn’t stay around for me to get a photo.


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