Oh … those lucky ducks.

feeling ducky.jpg

Today was an escape to beautiful and historic Heritage Park, a venue which never disappoints.  I figured I’d trek around the track twice, after visiting the old village area to feed the ducks and take photos before it got busy.

The weatherman kept crowing that today was the last day of our trifecta of cooler days so “get out and enjoy it!”  I liked the three-day respite, even though I really didn’t think it was all that cool today.  In fact, the car registered 80 degrees outside around noon when I arrived home.  Cool to me is 60 degrees … just sayin’.

The historical portion of Heritage Park sure is pretty and peaceful.

you remember heritage park

My first stop was Coan Lake to offload oyster crackers, treat the ducks and get a photo op … all in one fell swoop.

coan lake.jpg

I was toting a new box of oyster crackers that I brought to feed the ducks (and the seagulls if the ducks were slow gobbling them up).  The last time I was here was for the 5K run/walk to benefit the local food pantry, and before that, I spent much of my time trying to get a few shots of the elusive barn swallows which were darting here, there and everywhere around the covered bridge.  Finally, you may recall, I discovered they had nests up in the rafters and each nest was filled with swallow chicks.  It was my lucky day that I looked up and saw the chicks and their parents!  (I confess I also was glad I looked up since there were multiple birds perched directly over my head just as I walked beneath them.)

As I neared Coan Lake, I broke open the oyster crackers to get ready to toss them to the ducks.  But what was this scene?  Another of the ducks’ benefactors had arrived just before me.  It seemed as if a feeding frenzy was already in progress, and that episode changed the course for today’s blog post.

I stood back and observed, camera in hand.

Just like the squirrels who come running over to greet me when I start walking on the perimeter path, ducks began to surround a gentleman, first paddling over to the water’s edge, then clambering onto land, or waddling over from the nearby grassy areas.  A few ducks even flew down from the sky.  There are many ducks at this Park, but they are usually scattered around the lake, never concentrated in one place.

I soon understood why this guy was a duck magnet.  He had a huge Ziploc bag of corn and was tossing it out onto the grass.

This was the scene I encountered just after I arrived.

toss number 1

After a few large handfuls of corn were scattered, the group began to multiply as more mallards joined the feeding frenzy.

toss number 3

By the time he was down to the bottom of the bag, the ground and nearby rocks were covered with ducks, their bills to the ground gulping down that corn.

toss number 4

I told this gentleman I might as well just hang onto my oyster crackers for next time.  He laughed and said the ducks know him.  He is there every morning because feeding the ducks just starts his day off right.  I told him I know all about that warm and fuzzy feeling and that is why I make my daily foray to Council Point Park and the occasional trips to other parks on weekends.  I, too, seek a nature fix and enjoy feeding my little buddies.

I said “so ducks like corn then – who knew?”  He said it was actually cracked corn, easy for ducks to eat and digest and it was a treat for them.  He said “if you leave your crackers and the seagulls don’t get ‘em, the ducks will have something to eat later when they get hungry.”

Based on this wisdom, I scattered the crackers on the lawn so my feathered friends could have a snack later.

Suddenly, he pointed to the wooden walk-out pier across Coan Lake …

walk out pier

… then told me the ducks are savvy, because in the afternoons people go on the walk-out pier with food, so naturally the ducks hang out over there after mid-day when there are more visitors at Heritage Park.

He also asked me if I noticed the ramp the Park installed in Coan Lake to make it easier for the ducks to get into the water.

he showed me the ramp

I’d never noticed it before and told him this, adding “these ducks have a ducky life don’t they?”

We chatted about the weather, and ducks, nature in general, then back to ducks again, while we watched the mallards munching on their treats.  By then, the group had finished all the cracked corn and had moved on to the oyster crackers (so they didn’t snub me after all).

We watched the mallards going up and down the ramp, sometimes at breakneck speed … coming down, they kind of slide into the water with a big plop.

slide1

Some ducks skip the slide, and just dive in headfirst.

testing the waters

It cools them off, but annoys the other ducks with the big splash.  Me too – I jumped back in a flash so the camera didn’t get wet.

big splash

Of course, then their ritual is to shake and flip their feathers, much to the chagrin of the other nearby mallards.

shake your feathers

Finally the treats were gone, so the ducks all headed into Coan Lake to cool off.  There were ducklings playing hide and go seek, turning upside down, tails in the air, momentarily disappearing, then popping up somewhere else while Mama Duck anxiously looked on.

Mama and ducklins

Meanwhile the temps were heating up quickly and I wished I could join those fine feathered friends in the cool water.  The fellow duck feeder and nature lover and I parted ways and I completed a spin around the village, then off to walk the pathway around the entire Heritage Park.

I got five miles of steps on the pedometer, and many miles of smiles as well.

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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33 Responses to Oh … those lucky ducks.

  1. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Dear “Miss Miles of Smiles”………………………………….I was smiling reading your blog today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      There were so many ducks Ann Marie and they just came out of nowhere all of a sudden … the more he tossed out corn, the more ducks arrived. It was amusing to watch. I didn’t know they had a “ramp” for the ducks – I was laughing at that as I didn’t know they went up/down that ramp … they wait their turn too. How funny! Sometimes one gets pushy, but mostly they wait “in line” to go next. Glad you enjoyed this. I enjoy myself every time I go to Heritage Park. Wish it was closer and I’d go there every day.

      Like

  2. TJ says:

    You got some cool photos! I love the duck ramp! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. susieshy45 says:

    I love this post, Linda. The antics of those duckies. The slide made for them. This is a water theme park for the ducks.
    I am glad to read of a fellow duck lover who even says his day starts off right after feeding the ducks, who are familiar with him. It is like my day that starts off with feeding those strays.
    I wish I had a lot of animals to feed though and no disapproving human eyes.
    Glad you made the steps for today. I wish you could cool down in a swimming pool too.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Susie – it is always nice to meet a kindred spirit, and he was to the ducks what I am to the squirrels (at least what I was til they all return) … knowing their habits, their likes and dislikes. My friend Carol feeds feral cats, entire families, and shelters/feeds them through the long Winters which can be brutal where she lives in New York. We are repaid by their kindness toward us … somewhere in Heaven will be a place for all us animal lovers I believe. That duck slide made me laugh. I never noticed it there before. They were enjoying it immensely. It made my day! Stay cool Susie – we are back to a searing day of heat and humidity today, then a tad bit cooler tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ruthsoaper says:

    Great pictures and story Linda. Cracked corn seems to be a favorite for many critters. It is part of the scratch mix we feed our chickens and if the chickens leave it on the ground we see many birds, squirrels, deer, and raccoons eating it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Ruth – I am glad you liked it. Heritage Park is a beautiful place – I wish it was closer to where I live, but a 12-mile round trip is not horrible and a good run for my car which does not get out enough.

      I didn’t know about the cracked corn – thanks for enlightening me more. I am wondering if you can buy it with regular bird seed? We have a pet store about four blocks from here and they carry animal feed and hay – I’m guessing they would carry it. I would have to get some Rubbermaid containers to keep it in though as I don’t want to have little worms. When I fed the birds, I had the seed in three different-sized containers as I didn’t want moths. I could keep the oyster crackers for the Winter months (rare if I go, but when the water is frozen and snow is on the ground).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. janowrite says:

    Great post, sensational photography! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Jan – I am glad you liked it. This Park is so beautiful, and on a sunny day, all photos come out with beautiful reflections, especially for the historical houses and buildings near Coan Lake. The duck feeding was just an added bonus!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. John says:

    What a beautiful place and your pictures!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked them John. I was like you when you are lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I’ve been to Heritage Park maybe 10 times in the last year, but never the same time as this guy was feeding the ducks and I always go there first so I don’t have to carry around their treats. I really like the two ducks in the top picture. I took several pictures of them, but I like this one best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John says:

        When you take pictures so must you have much luck to come in right time. I have waited for some birds for long time when I was out, but now days I trust to be lucky!😁 It’s so boring to waste time for nothing. I can’t understand some birdwatchers which can lie on the ground camouflage for several hours to get a little glimpse of a bird.😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree – I couldn’t sit around waiting too long either in case birds don’t show up. I just have to go with the flow – it is the morning or weekends to see birds and critters Now this guy said he is there every day – I’ve been to the Park about 10 times in the last year – I’ve never seen him, so I thought it was just lucky I arrived at the same time yesterday. And seeing all those ducks in one spot. Most of the ducks were young and did not have their colorful plumage yet … they all looked like females as the males just had a hint of their green head feathers – either that or maybe they were moulting now that I think of it … but if you notice, they were all the drab color of females. The ducklings were so cute, but most of the pics I took of them, they looked like dots in the water – one picture of the two with their mother came out okay. They were so playful … it made me smile watching them.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. AJ says:

    Aww what a great way to start the day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I thought so too – apparently he does this every day – I’ve been there plenty of times, but evidently not at the same time as he feeds them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Now up here we’re told not to feed the birds bread as it expands in their stomach and then they don’t get enough of what they need so I guess corn would be a good alternative to that. Have you been told that down there too?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        We have been told that bread was not good as well – the gluten in the bread messes up their digestive track and has no nutritional value. We are told to give them pieces of fruit and they love grapes.. But I understood crackers were okay, whole grain seedy ones especially, since they were air and not doughy and gummy like bread. I use the oyster crackers if I am at the water, it floats on the water so they can find them. I would buy the cracked corn to use as ground feed though – I had never heard of feeding them cracked corn before. Ruth Soaper, one of Anne Mehrling’s followers and now we follow one another, read the post and said they feed it to their chickens mixed with their feed and what the chickens don’t eat, the birds and raccoons eat.

        Liked by 2 people

      • AJ says:

        Oh cool that you found a good alternative in crackers. I hadn’t heard of the cracked corn either!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Cracked corn would work on grass or pavement, but at least the oyster crackers float and don’t get soggy. Sometimes the ducks are in the water – so I can feed them there and get a few pictures of them at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Perfect!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You took a ton of beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. usually when you see any bird with it’s bum to the sky,it’s because they are feeding on something on the bottom.

    Like

  10. sharonchyy says:

    Very good photos and interesting post🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ellie P. says:

    Amazing pix!! That man = the Pied Piper of ducks!!

    Liked by 1 person

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