After pounding the hot pavement along Fort Street, with occasional interludes under the shady tree at the “Ponies in the Park” event yesterday, I decided it was time to enjoy a nature jaunt again. The car needed to be taken for a spin, so I thought I’d head down to the closest thing to a seashore that is around these parts … Bishop Park in Wyandotte. Hearing the seagulls screech and seeing the water lapping up against the boardwalk and pier walk, could fool you into believing you were enjoying a day at the seashore. Though there may be no seashells to collect or snuggle up to your ear, and no beach glass to discover in the sand, at Bishop Park the view at the Detroit River is scenic and there is usually a gentle breeze blowing as you stroll along the boardwalk.
I arrived at the pier at 8:00 a.m. and soon discovered I was not the only one who thought that a cool breeze from the Detroit River might temper the heat so as to complete one’s morning exercise regimen. Several walkers chatted animatedly with one another, a pair of skateboarders whizzed by, as did a couple of joggers almost as soon as I stepped onto the boardwalk. Just a few minutes later, I found one of those joggers resting on a park bench, looking exhausted, legs akimbo and with a soaking wet face. Truthfully, she looked pretty wiped out and was clutching a dripping water bottle. I asked if she had just doused herself with water from the bottle, or was she THAT hot … she laughed and said “I am THAT hot from this humidity – whew! And yes, it is sweat!” Well, of course there is the old joke that ladies perspire rather than sweat, but in weather like this, let’s not mince words … ladies sweat too. It was already 80 degrees and 76% humidity when I left the house.
The fishermen were likewise up and at ‘em. They were stationed along the shoreline as well as on the pier. I heard many of the fishermen muttering “the bass aren’t bitin’ … must be the heat” as I watched them reel in empty lines, just with their own minnows or night crawlers attached to the hook. I strolled along, camera in one hand and a box of oyster crackers in the other. I was looking for hungry ducks to feed, even though I knew that along with those mallards, I’d likely get a torrent of seagulls as well. That’s okay, the seagulls are always good for a few “seashore-type” photos to accompany a post about visiting the Detroit River.
A quick glance across the water informed me that once again there were no freighters passing by, but there was a passel of pleasure boats out this morning, and every so often they’d generate a lot of wave activity. The water came precariously close to the boardwalk a few times and I found myself jumping back to avoid getting the camera or me splashed.
Soon I found myself at the kayak launching area.
I noticed the wooden platform nearby was not stationary. I watched that platform moving to and fro with each big wave and every time it swayed, it would creak very loudly. That noise would have driven me crazy, but I noticed a family of mallards were perfectly content to enjoy their floating perch. Some were even snoozing on it.
I watched Mama and Papa mallard, who preened for the longest time, and their ducklings must have gotten bored and decided to explore. So, one by one they plopped off the wooden platform and into the water, where they soon investigated the shoreline, and frolicked in the Detroit River. Now was a good time to dispense some of my oyster crackers
But their parents, once they were done preening, soon noticed their brood’s absence, so they waddled over to the edge of the platform to find them.
I noticed Mama mallard kept holding her foot up – did she injure it?
Meanwhile, the ducklings soon tired of fun and games. Some began to preen and a few decided to get some shuteye with a lookout sibling watching over the others.
It was peaceful watching the little family and I took a lot of photos from my spot on the pier. It was all good until a few fishflies arrived and one landed on my arm. At first when I felt it, I thought it was just a fly, or even a strand of hair had fallen onto my arm. It must have settled down ever so lightly onto my skin. Normally, I detest bugs, and those who know me, are aware that it is more than just not liking creepy crawlies, but I am afraid of them, and petrified I’ll be in a situation where I can’t escape from them. I know it sounds silly to some people, but I’ve always been that way and nothing is going to change now. Centipedes and spiders are the bane of my existence.
However, I’m okay with flying insects and I flicked this fishfly off my arm thinking “I’ll let it live – it will only last a few more days anyway.” My goodwill toward the fishfly resulted in next seeing it on the front of my shirt. Ugh! Well, it presented a photo op anyway, so you can see what a fishfly looks like.
We have just passed the height of fishfly season here in Michigan. Sometimes, when they gather at or near the water, they will cover a building, or a boat – even you, clinging on for dear life. They only live about a week after hatching, but they arrive en masse and cause misery to those living or working near the water.
Three anglers that had been fishing at the far end of the pier, packed up their gear and headed down the wooden plank toward me. They must have left behind some food or food wrappers, because as soon as they departed, one enterprising seagull honed in and began pecking away at something on the walkway.
He didn’t have his treat to himself for long before two more gulls joined him on the pier. If you’ve never heard or watched seagulls squabbling over a measly piece of food, it isn’t pretty. Seagulls are the original angry birds when it comes to food. They swoop and dive trying to take possession of it, often wresting the tiniest morsel from another gull amidst a snapping beak and flapping wings. Such drama!
It was around this time, that a few gulls noticed the oyster crackers that were on the surface of the water which had floated away from the ducks and ducklings. So, those gulls began a series of calisthenics to retrieve the tiny crackers from the water. They made some ungainly moves while swooping and diving and half-landing on the water’s surface. Suffice it to say seagull table manners are not the best.
After several rounds of fighting at the pier, one seagull was left with his food and the other gulls exhausted themselves landing on the water. All was quiet and it was time to head to the car and drive to Council Point Park to see if I could find some hungry squirrels to feed. Before I left Bishop Park, I heard, then saw, a man sitting on a bench playing his guitar. How peaceful that was.
At Council Point Park, I walked three loops on the shady side and called it done. It was hot, humid and I was ready to head home and get hydrated and cooled off. Just four miles today, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it given the extreme heat and humidity.