Among my bucket list items, is to visit New England to view the Fall foliage, and, if I took that trip, I would be known as a “leaf peeper”.
But, I’m already a leaf peeper and … I freely admit it.
Lest you try to twist that moniker around and turn it into something sordid, the only dirty thing about being a “leaf peeper” is that you sometimes traipse along muddy trails just to capture an image of a critter that may end up being too far away, or even fuzzy.
Yes, occasionally I do stray off the beaten path, i.e. that asphalt perimeter walking path at Council Point Park. Sometimes it is because I hear a big plop in the water, or maybe rustling in the bushes or trees that run parallel to the Ecorse Creek. When that happens, I’ll part the bulrushes, swamp grass, or foliage from the trees and bushes to shove my camera and face through them to satisfy my “nose for news”.
Sometimes it is as easy as simply looking way up high in a tree to ogle a red-bellied woodpecker drilling in his favorite spot. Or, maybe a cardinal is checking me out to see if I’m packing peanuts and one has his name on it.
I really enjoy peering through the trees to witness a tender moment as a mother robin watches over her hatchlings who await nourishment in a nearby nest.
Not all photo opportunities happen at the cement landing where the view is clear and unobstructed. Nope – not at all. Sometimes I’m lured to the water’s edge after inching my way down a slippery slope of dew-laden grass, or traipsing through tangled undergrowth … all for a picture to go with the day’s blog post.
The recent rainstorms have left those tiny trails that veer off the walking path a little muddy, but, there I was yesterday, tromping along a few of those muddy trails for the sole purpose of getting a better glimpse of the turtles.
Just the other day I wrote about the painted turtles of Ecorse Creek who like to line up on a log and sun themselves; I even posted a picture of one such turtle from last year. They like to bask in the warm sun like we’ve experienced the past two days. So, yesterday, since it was warm and sunny, I went looking for sunbathing turtles on that submerged log. But the recent rains have left that log way below the water’s surface, thus, no turtles. I figured they were somewhere catching the sun’s rays, so I looked around – after all, the soles of my shoes were already a tad muddy to begin with. Then I found them, two big painted turtles hunkered down on the log that the mallards usually use to congregate with their brethren.
But the pair of painted turtles was far away from the perimeter path as you can see.
I stood on tiptoes to catch a better glimpse of them. Thank goodness for the camera’s 12X zoom power.
I moseyed over to try another angle … they were staring at me, well maybe.
These shots were the best I could do, so next I poked around inspecting a few mushrooms that were growing in a secluded shady area.
When I straightened my back after crouching down to inspect the mushrooms, I noticed the usually elusive heron standing on the cement landing. Wow – maybe if I’m really quiet, I’ll get a good shot of him. Once again, I poked my head and camera through the foliage for a better look. I took a shot or two, then hustled to get back on the perimeter path before he took off. But, he was spooked by my presence and off he went, a blur of bluish-gray lifting off to find some peace and quiet from this intruder.
Oh well … you win some, you lose some.
Mother mallard and her ducklings were milling around the middle of the Creek, but, once I stole a glance at them, she hurriedly herded her brood away from me to the other side of the Creek where she and the ducklings disappeared into the reeds.
Nothing beats the friendly and inquisitive nature of my squirrel buddies – they never disappoint.
I walked another five miles this morning and it was 72 degrees when I arrived home … a hot and sticky and stormy weekend is on the horizon, but onward and upward toward my eventual goal.