Today’s blog post is the last of a trio of excursions taken the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd. Because of the old saying “make hay while the sun shines”, I spent a good portion of last weekend trekking around these two scenic parks and taking photos, because who knew if this current weekend might be waterlogged, as so many have been in 2018? Actually, I was prophetic, because today it did rain earlier and before the second rain shower’s expected arrival, I did scoot out and walk in dry, but gloomy-looking conditions.
I finished off September with 831 miles walked so far this year. I have 220 more miles to make my goal. While that may seem to be a piece of cake in this last quarter of 2018, the sun is rising later, so soon five miles each weekday morning may no longer be possible, and then by late October you have to start watching for the pathway to be slick with wet leaves, or even worse, having glaze ice when temperatures really start to dip.
So, a week ago today I went to lovely Elizabeth Park to see that venue one last time before Mother Nature begins painting those leaves the hues we’ve come to enjoy as we get deeper into this season. It was the first full day of Autumn, and, after freezing my fingers in the brisk breeze the day before, I really layered up and even brought along gloves to wear until the sun was high in the sky.
Well, this trip was for the birds! (I mean that in a good way.)
Since Elizabeth Park is only about eight miles from Lake Erie Metropark, I wondered if I would see any raptors, since the day before there were no sightings in the nearly three hours I spent at that venue. Would they continue on their migrating journey by crossing Elizabeth Park?
This Park is located along the Detroit River, and features over 1,300 feet of boardwalk where people walk, jog, rollerblade and fish. But, if you tire of looking out at the sparkly water and pleasure boats, you can always hike through the wooded area, walk the perimeter path that encircles the Park, or head down to where the ducks and geese congregate by streams that run parallel to Slocum Street, named for the family that donated the land which is now known as Elizabeth Park.
So what types of birds did I see during my trek?
I was basking in the sunshine, leaning against the railing of one of the many bridges, when I spotted an Egret. That Egret, just like me, was enjoying the sun’s rays, that is … until this pesky human happened along and disrupted its morning meditation.
From atop this bridge, I had a good view of the Egret and took a few pictures, but then I decided to creep up a little closer, stalking the poor creature, for goodness sake. Having crossed the bridge to the other side, I obviously intruded on its personal space, so the Egret bolted for parts unknown. It flew over the boardwalk and across the Detroit River, maybe even to Canada.
Well, having crossed that bridge, while hot on the trail of the Egret, I realized I, too, was in parts unknown. I had strayed from the main area of the Park, and now could see busy Slocum Street and the entrance to Elizabeth Park, but I was heading along a path I’d never been on before. I decided to follow that path to see where it took me.
In the distance was a second and similar-looking bridge, where there were some ducks likewise enjoying the morning sun. I wanted to get a picture of them at rest, as a few seemed so sleepy that they were unperturbed by my presence. But, as I’ve noticed, whenever I come across a group of ducks resting or preening, there is always a lookout duck watching out for his brethren.
Look at this Pekin duck, who was so sleepy, nodding off, yet obviously he had doubts that the Mallard could handle the lookout duck position, as he kept one eye open while I was nearby.
Then, he decided to stretch his legs and ambled over to a spot to be by himself. Perhaps this was a hint for me to skedaddle, or, even to signify to his brethren that he wanted privacy? But, he stood there, in a one-legged stance, sleeping on the spot, but occasionally checking out his surroundings.
When I finally decided to move along, he obviously rejoiced that he and his fine-feathered friends were alone again.
I saw no one on this pathway, and it was not secluded in the least, so I felt at ease being here and took my time walking along.
I thought this tree was interesting looking …
… and this fallen log in this cove provided a nice cubbyhole for a group of Mallards to sleep or preen on this lovely sun-soaked Sunday morning.
I likely overstayed my welcome with this group of ducks, and, though I didn’t like to destroy this cozy scenario with my presence, one by one the Mallards waddled off the log to plop into the water, the breeze ruffling their feathers just a little, probably almost as much as my presence did.
The wildflowers along the way added a nice touch of color to the glorious day.
I trekked the entire path, and, so I wouldn’t get lost, I went back to the bridge where I discovered the Egret and crossed back over into familiar territory.
Waterfowl aplenty as I meandered through Elizabeth Park.
I like Heritage Park as the ducks and geese congregate at beautiful Coan Lake, but at Elizabeth Park, it seems you cannot turn around without seeing groups of ducks, mostly Mallards. Though the Canada Geese are also plentiful, clearly ducks rule in this Park.
In the shadow of the main bridge, where people often gather for wedding, homecoming and prom photos, I saw this group of ducks on a log. Like the other Mallards, they were lined up and enjoying the sunny morning.
Talk about having your ducks in a row!
All these duck sightings and I’d not even headed to the boardwalk along the Detroit River yet! As I continued my stroll, I saw the Egret had returned and a Cormorant had arrived on the scene. I realized I was fickle, not sure which one to focus my attention on, so my head swiveled back and forth watching each of them.
The Egret strutted along the water’s edge, taking large strides with its big feet.
Occasionally it paused to pose, as it is probably used to people dragging out their phones or cameras because it looks so photogenic.
Out of the corner of the other eye, I watched the Cormorant frolicking in the water, its long neck and head barely above the surface more than a few seconds, until it disappeared once again in search of food.
I watched the Cormorant’s antics until a group of kayakers came along and stirred things up just a little, and I mean more than just the water. Their colorful kayaks and lively conversation first scared the Egret who bolted, and then spooked the Cormorant who freaked out and flew up into the sky.
The kayakers paddled on by, oblivious to the stir they caused in the waterfowl world.
The ducks and geese were not so skittish of those colorful kayakers and stayed to themselves along the water’s edge.
Along the boardwalk.
Next, I continued on my journey along the river walk. The breeze made the water choppy and the sun made it sparkle.
A seagull with some attitude greeted me … if a seagull could wear a surly look, this bird sure had one.
A flock of Canada Geese soared overhead, not quite having their “V” formation all together yet. They disappeared above the trees in the distance, defining that first full day of Fall to a “T”.