Fall has arrived … bigtime!
Just like that (snapping fingers), a cold front brought in some wicked winds that raced through here mid-day Friday and 75,000 people in Metro Detroit lost their power from those high winds. I was lucky and only lost mine for about ten minutes when winds were clocked at 40 mph.
This year’s weather madness continues. When I left the house this morning, it was 20 degrees cooler than yesterday. Unbelievably, it was only 56 degrees! Obviously, I needed my mom to be here to dress me, because a hoodie and lightweight pants sure weren’t warm enough, and even my hands were cold. Granted, I trekked around the boat harbor right on Lake Erie and when I arrived there, the wind had really picked up and was whipping around at 15 mph and the sun was MIA once again. I went to the boat launch area at Lake Erie Metropark, as it is considered a primo point for hawk migration, especially this week. But I’ll save that story and pictures for another post. Suffice it to say, I was glad to get into the car and turn the heat on full blast to warm up. Next I went to Grosse Ile to the alpaca farm, where I was ready to snuggle up close to a few of those cutie pies just to warm up. I’ll make that visit tomorrow’s post because I have collected a few photos from Council Point Park this past week to welcome in Fall.
I’ve always fallen for Fall …
Autumn is my favorite season of the year, even though it is the harbinger of things to come, i.e. the season I dislike the most … Winter. I love the chill in the air, the harvest décor, even the color scheme of the gourds, jewel-toned mums and the beautiful leaves. I have always fallen for Fall.
Fall has already come calling at Council Point Park.
Before the official arrival of Fall, the color change has been subtle. In the five years that I’ve walked at this venue, I always find it interesting that the first leaves to turn color are the scrappy-looking bushes or swamp weeds that grow along the banks of the Ecorse Creek. During the Summer months, they are rather nondescript looking, but all of a sudden, many of the leaves have begun turning crimson …
… and, not to be outdone, the yellow leaves have similarly put in an appearance.
Even the orange-toned leaves, not quite a burnt orange just yet, are present on many bushes along the perimeter path.
The weather this week was like a roller coaster ride … up, down – who can keep up with it? Earlier in the week, we had tropical-feeling weather, Wednesday it was chilly, then Thursday we dealt with torrential rain and storms a good part of the day. That rain wrecked my walk and Friday it was a little soggy and back to the heat and humidity again. That heat and humidity so early in the morning was good for something though … butterflies love the heat.
Migration and Monarchs.
It is amazing how the Monarch butterflies know when it is time to ditch the chilly northern climes and head on down to the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. They usually begin their long journey in August, but likely these beauties hung on a little longer due to our warm September. At Council Point Park yesterday, a group of Monarchs passed through there while I was on my walk. There were not a great number of them at one time – in fact, they came through in dribs and drabs. I have not seen a single Monarch at the Park this Summer and I saw two or three of them try to alight on tree leaves on one branch. The camera was already out, but it was so windy they had difficulty alighting on a leaf. I’ve lost track how many I followed, trying to get a close-up, only to have them drift off into the air, or onto another leaf, often away from my view. So, this was my best effort, but what a treat to see Monarchs at nearly every turn of the perimeter path and I saw several as I walked home from the Park too. Good thing they didn’t delay their journey another day – Brrrr!
Friday was fabulous for waterfowl photo ops.
First, I saw fellow walker, Mike, who told me “you’d better hurry over to the cement slab because YOUR heron is there and I’ve passed him twice and he hasn’t moved.” So, I made a beeline over to see MY heron. Usually he bolts seconds after I arrive anywhere near his turf, but he stood there, just like a statue and seemed oblivious to my presence.
I seized the opportunity to get a photo of him in this pensive mood, then inched a little closer just as he bent over to scope out fish in the dirty water.
I decided to press my luck a little more, but he rebelled as I entered his personal space. He let out a squawk that could raise the dead and took off down the passageway.
Meanwhile, I found another bird to occupy myself with, so I spent the next 15 minutes or so watching him (or her) diving for breakfast in the murky Ecorse Creek water. Meanwhile the heron figured I’d vacated his turf by now, so he took another pass by his favorite spot, only to discover the annoying human was still there. He flew by, legs outstretched behind that scrawny body, and let out another screeching noise, which I took to be his disgust with my presence nearby his favorite perch.
Next up – another Cormorant.
After the heron departed (the first time), I saw movement in the water. It was more than the snapping turtles coming up for air and leaving a trail of bubbles in the water.
Then, I definitely saw something large and dark streaking beneath the surface, so I stood there, poised to await the muskrat coming up for air.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a huge bird come bobbing to the surface. Its slender neck and long beak reminded me a loon, but I was positive it was the same bird I saw at Heritage Park last week – a Cormorant. That long beak with the hook on the end gave me the clue, since I could not see his big webbed feet, and, this time he was diving and not displaying his large wingspan. This graceful bird, feathers slicked back from diving, continued plunging into the water, and nearly a minute later he would surface as far as 15 or 20 feet away. These are the best pictures I got since it never stayed above the surface long enough to get a good shot.
I zigzagged around the Park, feeding my regular nutty buddies, but with an eye toward the Monarch butterflies that kept flitting around the trees and bushes.
Time slipped by way too quickly and I glanced at my watch and knew I’d have to hustle to get home on time to start work.
The neighbors have begun hauling out their harvest décor. Hopefully we don’t return to the hot weather again or those pumpkins will turn to mush long before harvest season is over. As to the cool weather, it sure is welcome because …