Free as a bird …

HEADER.jpg

This post will be part two of yesterday’s trek to Council Point Park.  Though my little furry friends monopolized a good portion of that excursion, there were a few Kodak moments with my feathered friends as well – I hope you think so too.

Bye bye birdies?

For those of you that have followed this blog for a while, you might be wondering, just like me, where the Canada Geese have gone.  They left in June after the goslings fledged and disappeared to parts unknown.  The geese, like other waterfowl and birds, have their annual molt in the Summer.  They lose their flying feathers, so they must go to a safe haven where they can stay on land until they are able to fly again.  I saw the geese at Council Point Park once and that was in late Summer, after a small flock descended onto the soccer field and began grazing.  Soon thereafter they left.  Even if they monopolized the perimeter path with goslings in tow, not to mention their attitudes and sometimes fractious personalities, I do miss sharing the walking trail with them and writing about them.  They usually do overwinter at the Park, so  I hope they return soon.

Choosing my favorite nature nook over other parks was a feather in my cap.

Yesterday, was truly a bird lover’s delight.

Shortly after I arrived at Council Point Park, my attention was drawn to the sky, where a few dozen birds were gracefully gliding through the air and dipping down amongst the trees.  At first, I was horrified as I thought these were hawks scoping out the Park for squirrels.  I shaded my eyes with my hand to see these birds better, but that pesky sun, non-existent for days on end, suddenly poked through the clouds.  I grabbed the camera and began shooting blindly, hoping the image I captured for this post was not just a collection of black specks.  When I uploaded the pictures later in the day, it turned out they were seagulls thankfully, but it sure looked like a scene from “The Birds” don’t you think?

seagulls1.jpg

After doling out goodies to every squirrel that came to greet me, finally my hands were free, and just in time, because I noticed the heron at his usual spot on the cement landing.  He is skittish, and prone to being spooked, as you know, so yesterday was no exception.  In the space of a heartbeat, he bolted, but not down the narrow Creek passageway – instead, he merely flew across the Creek to the other side, where he perched on a log which was bleached out by the elements.  “So there!” is what he seemed to say, as if to mock me trying to get his picture.  You’ll note how he gave me “the side eye” … so you now understand when I say he is a heron with a lot of attitude!

side eye

But, I would not be deterred, and I patiently stood, precariously close to the end of the cement landing, hoping a great gust of wind did not blow me into the murky water.  Suddenly it had become blustery out, but I was planting myself there until he decided to swivel his head back into a respectable profile mode.  Alas, that heron must have gotten a “crick” in his neck as he finally quit staring at me sideways across the water.

Luckily he wasn’t too far away, so I zoomed in for a close-up.  Check out the ruffled feathers – this was more than just the breeze, (or his dissatisfaction with me trying to take a picture).

ruffled feathers

But, a minute or two later, those feathers were tamed down and that Great Blue Heron stood, poised, just as still as a statue, with a perfect profile with the banks of the Ecorse Creek in the background.

ruffled less.jpg

He kept shifting about and you can see how scrawny he is in this picture.

front.jpg

I took a lot of pictures of Mr. Heron, but my frozen fingers needed to be tucked back into their warm Polar fleece mitten tops, so I backed off, walked back up the incline to the perimeter path and continued on my journey.

Twice along the way I saw chunks of biscuits that someone had left for the birds to nibble on.

biscuit1.jpg

biscuit2.jpg

I walked the second loop, which is one mile, and returned to loop one, where you know I couldn’t pass up craning my neck to see what the heron was doing.  He had left that big log and was ankle deep in the cold Creek water.  I decided I must have some more pictures of this heron, so I zoomed in on him.

standing in the cold water

Well isn’t this just ducky?

There were mallards padding around nearby and I wanted to get a photo of this peaceful and tranquil scene as well.  The beautiful yellow tree on the Creek bank has lost most of its leaves, but it still cast a reflection on the Creek so that the pond looked golden as it rippled slightly when stirred by the wind.  This idyllic scene was framed by that golden tree and rippled water – such peace and tranquility.

ducks in a row

mellow yellow

on golden pond

on golden pond1.jpg

I was intent on watching these tranquil images, both with my eyes, as well as behind the camera.  I captured the image of the heron, motionless as a statue,  as a few ducks floated in front of him.  How nice!

*heron and ducks.jpg

What I didn’t notice, was after I zoomed in, a drake intruded into the photo – my heron shot was photo bombed by a mallard as you see in the photo up top.

After all those photos, I put the camera away and jammed my poor frozen hands into my coat pockets and walked along.  The trees are becoming very bare and more and more squirrels’ nests are being exposed.  When all the leaves are down, I’ll take some photos of the squirrel nests as several of you have asked whether the squirrels hibernate – they are actually around all Winter, though they spend more time in their nests, coming down to ground level to search for the nuts they buried, or when their favorite benefactors arrive.

In the distance I saw a pickup truck pulling something large behind the truck bed.  The driver pulled onto the perimeter path.  He drove around and stopped near one of the memorial trees.  The sun was in my eyes and I tried to focus on what was going on but it was too far away.  I caught up with a couple of walkers and they too were curious.  The next go around, the man was gone and the walkers and I went over to inspect what he had been doing.

This is what we discovered.

memorial stone.jpg

How nice – this young man’s parents must have been nature lovers, specifically having an affinity for birds!  We all went on our way, secure in the knowledge that the world was full of nature lovers, just like ourselves.  It was easy to say that this trip was “for the birds” but that phrase was used in a good, not disparaging way.

Postscript

This morning I went to Council Point Park.  I was interested to see if the birds and squirrels had discovered and ravaged those two dishes of suet.  I peeked at the picnic table under the pavilion as I neared it.  A half-dozen sparrows were lined up near the suet dishes but not pecking at them.  I thought they were wearing a woeful look and a few squirrels hovered nearby and were also unable to dive into the suet dishes.  I walked over and they had a peck here and there out of them.  Fellow walker Mike suggested I find a good stick and break the suet up for them.  I broke off a branch of a dead tree, slid an old Ziploc bag from my pocket over the stick and tried to break it up.  Let’s say I “started” it and suet crumbs were scattering everywhere – much happiness for my feathered and furry pals.

I caught up with Mike to tell him the stick worked and to show him the memorial stone from yesterday.  I suggested the deceased couple were bird lovers.  Mike saw the stone and said “I know the son and his dad died and he used to own Three Jays Construction and that’s their logo!”  Mystery solved – maybe not a nature lover but someone went through a lot of trouble to mark that memorial stone with those three blue jays.

And now an ugly weather day is tomorrow – my trek will take me to the driveway to shovel snow and likely nowhere else.

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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Free as a bird …

  1. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………..those were very nice up-front pictures of the GBH……………because they’re so skittish………………..it;s wonderful to have gotten those pictures…………………..and I’m happy to know about the new grave marker at the park………………..and the story behind it……………….

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Ann Marie – I knew you’d like these pictures since you admire the GBH and have for many years – is the one still at your pond? This blue heron looked very blue to me, and I don’t know if it was the lighting due to the sunlight shining on it, or it was a different GBH. I saw another heron yesterday morning but he was tucked in a tree and I took some pics but did not look at them yet, but suspect they are not as clear since it was gray out and he was hidden in the tree. I thought the memorial stone story was interesting … I guess I had hoped it was a person who just plain loved jays or birds, but I do remember seeing the logo and it was equally touching for the son to put the logo on the memorial stone for his parents. Our walking has taken a hit – grrrr!

      Like

  2. Beautiful walk! Love the heron and ducks! My birds, big and small never have trouble with the suet even when it’s really cold. A squirrel stopped by and came right up to my patio door this morning. I don’t feed them anymore because they got rather aggressive. Fortunately for them, there are always some sunflower seeds falling down from the bird feeders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sabine – it was a rare day with sunshine and the last of the golden leaves shining on the water made it perfect for capturing pics of the mallards … there were many mallards out on Sunday. I guess I should have gotten a suet holder for each tray, but I was sure they could manage the suet without it … next time I will break it up before I take it down to the Park. They were enjoying that suet yesterday after I helped them along and I know it is good for them, especially the birds, if they can wrest it away from the squirrels. I like squirrels … at the Park. When I fed the birds in the backyard, the squirrels would overtake everything and ignore their peanuts or treats and attack the birdfeeders first and yes, they are aggressive about their food. I had to quit feeding them as well, as they tried to get into the house when you opened the screen door … my mom was on a cane and moved slowly going in/out of the door and we couldn’t risk having a squirrel getting into the house. They are shameless sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely pictures. Do the ducks and the herons overwinter in the park too? Where will they go when the water freezes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joan – glad you liked them. The ducks and herons do stay and I’ve seen them in the Park throughout the Winter, but when the water freezes they often go to the Detroit River where the current is stronger and it is a bigger body of water so less likely to ice over … I have pictures of how the Creek ices over in Winter, sometimes for weeks at a time … this happened a lot last year as we had weeks of bitter cold weather. The ducks used to live under the cement ledge which is over a storm drain. They would live under the drain as it did not ice up and venture out to get food like nibbling on reeds, maybe small fish from the Creek. I used to take them stale bread. But they don’t stay in large groups like that anymore. The heron stays as well, but he is usually perched somewhere looking for food. I was at the Park last March 18th and there was ice covering over the Creek. A large mute swan came along, using its feet and beak to push the ice aside to make a path. It came onto land and preened a little to get the ice off its feathers, then it went on its way, through the ice again. It was quite an experience for me watching this and the swan was nearly as tall as me (5 ‘ 9″ tall) … https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/03/18/the-ice-cutter/

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think your park is a marvelous place! Can you direct me to the blog where you had the bad encounter with the swan? I have heard they can be nasty!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Hi Joan – it is a jewel that I am so happy to have found and unbelievably it is only a mile away and I never knew it existed when I started my walking regimen in 2011. I didn’t discover it until 2013. Before that I only walked in the neighborhood. A few weeks before I saw this beautiful swan in the icy water, I was at the other end of Council Point Park and admiring a pair of swans … I believe a male and female and the male came out of the water very quickly and started coming toward me – I had been down at Dingell Park, a mile away, earlier in the month, because someone told me that eagles like to go looking for fish from the ice floes. There is a small uninhabited island right there … just a lot of tall trees and eagles have nests there. They perch up high and look for fish in the Detroit River. The River has a strong current so doesn’t ice over completely. I was looking for eagles and a big swan came out of the water and people were feeding it … there is a nearby restaurant and people had bread and little treats for it. I only had peanuts on me as I was going to Council Point Park later that morning. I tossed peanuts and he ate them. So a few weeks later when the swan chased me I remembered the peanuts … good thing. He was on the warpath. Here is that post of the swan after he climnbed ashore and he was close up! https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/03/04/brr-burrs-and-birds/

        Like

      • Thanks Linda……very interesting to read about all your adventures…..and that swan looks very big!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thank you Joan. That swan came out of the water so fast – I couldn’t believe it! I could not believe the size of its feet as it came toward me, nor how big it was. There is a metal park bench in that area, and I was prepared to climb up on it if necessary! I am glad you are enjoying all the adventures. I was also chased by a flock of Canada geese one day when I ran out of bread. I just ran ahead of them and merged into a group of three or four women who were walking on the path and then the geese couldn’t find me. 🙂 P.S. – I don’t think they looked too hard and I never took bread to the Park for the geese again!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am envious of your park. I think I would walk more if I had a lovely park like that with so many different animals and birds to look at. The only small park near me only has Canadian geese, (too many!) which overwinter there as there is a small creek which does not freeze and a bridge they can shelter under. I read one of your blogs about the cardinals too – I love cardinals but have no luck attracting those either. as most of my trees had to be cut down due to ash boer disease and I think they prefer their bird feeder to be sheltered in bushes not out in the open like mine……last year I bought super expensive deluxe birdseed and still didn’t attract much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I was walking just in the neighborhoods before I discovered the Park … there is a street with all these nice homes (Emmons Boulevard), and I walked down that way every day because I didn’t have to worry about loose dogs. The street starts in my city and goes to Wyandotte, a beautiful city. Our City went through a fiscal issue and we were in receivership after the recession for a few years. Many people left the City, abandoned their homes and some bought big dogs or pit bulls to protect them and their property because the City had first responders retire and put some on part time. It was a bad time as to crime and we still have some crime unfortunately, but not so bad as we have a full police force now. So I used to walk down Emmons Boulevard every day – the beautiful homes and trees and I passed a footbridge which was part of the Ecorse Creek which also runs through Council Point Park, but this was about 1 1/2 miles away from the Park. So, all these ducks and geese used to live under and around this footbridge. I just searched for my post using keywords because I thought I had some Canada geese gathered together under the footbridge that I took on Christmas Day. I will search for that post by checking my media files later … that might be quicker. But I used to think that was so nice seeing “wildlife” in the middle of the City. So, even when I discovered Council Point Park, when it was icy on the path at the Park, I continued to walk down past the footbridge. I used to take bread for the ducks and geese every day. It was my little dose of nature. I used to walk down to the marina in Wyandotte as well. Sometimes in Summer, sometimes in the Winter like on this day. There was no ice so the mallards were out. There is a footbridge over the marina and it was a nice lookout for me … now that we have more bad weather, I will be more likely to spend weekends at Council Point Park rather than venturing to the larger Parks. I was going there to take photos and a change of pace for the blog posts. Here is a picture of the marina … it is a little jaunt and I have to cross a set of railroad tracks to get there … across the street is the Detroit River. https://lindaschaubblog.net/2016/01/08/mallards-at-the-marina/

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Just saw all of your geese south of the lake…lol You taught me something new, I didn’t know they stayed land bound for a bit while they molt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      So that’s where they went! I miss them as they added some character to the Park on my daily walk. Thank goodness they were at least around while the goslings were young, but it’s been ages since they were here. Yes, the ducks and geese have the annual molt and lose those flying feathers so they don’t go anywhere while they are molting. After all the commotion that the ducks and geese make all Spring, the Park gets very quiet once they take off. Are you getting snow today too – I suspect so since you’re not that far from me.

      Like

  5. John says:

    Great pictures! It’s a lovely and big park you have. Our park, the tivoli park is quite small. About the Canada geese, they come to us in the winter from the north of Sweden. We got several thousands of different geese here wintertime, different species.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It would be beautiful to see all those geese John – I hope ours return. I did see a lot of geese at Elizabeth Park when I was there a week ago Saturday – they live all over that Park and sometimes monopolize the roadway that encircles the Park as they cross, sometimes 50 of them at a time. Today we have snow (again) … not a lot but an annoyance and hopefully this is just a fluke and not the beginning of a long Winter. We were promised an El Nino Winter this year with less snow and milder temps … fingers crossed this happens. I hope your Winter won’t be as awful as your Summer was.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. clarejk2014 says:

    Lovely pictures. We get a lot of mallards here in England, their ducklings in spring are very cute to see. I love seeing herons, they always seem very calm and patient, waiting for dinner to arrive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Clare … I am glad you enjoyed them. Our mallards were missing after the molting and then we had a very hot and rain-free July and the Creek developed a lot of algae bloom, so I never saw ducks for ages. I saw them at larger parks where the current is stronger in the water. I only saw ducklings once this year and I had hoped to see cygnets as well, but we had this never-ending rain every weekend and I never got down to the Detroit River like I usually do. We did have our share of goslings though. The first year I walked at Council Point Park, in the Winter the ducks used to go under a storm drain to keep warm and the ice would not form there. I would see them every time I walked and I took them bread back then. Then they disappeared the following Winter and I do miss them once the Creek freezes up. The heron I only saw once last Winter – he was catching a fish and it snowing like crazy – a little squall came up and he looked about as annoyed as I was to see it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ruthsoaper says:

    Great photo’s Linda and love hearing all of your observations. Your photo bomber made that a beautiful Picture. Be careful shoveling snow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Ruth – I am happy I got out to see these birds and have a wonderful Sunday stroll before the weather turned ugly. Now I am hearing we have some snow coming not only Friday but Saturday as well – it is probably nuisance snow, but still … I have to hope I will not be shoveling 62 inches of snow like last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. He’s so beautiful. Especially with all his little feathers ruffled up like that, he looks so fluffy! x I did have to drive to a new place at the weekend, and saw a big pond by the road covered in Canada geese, I have never seen so many in one small spot before. They all looked happy enough though. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m happy to see you back Heather … that heron does look beautiful and looks twice his size as he is usually very scrawny looking, and that’s why I included that other picture. I think Canada Geese are beautiful and I like to watch them fly in formation. It just fascinates me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie says:

    I am a bird-lover. I used to be much more into birding, but I still love to walk in the woods or go to a nearby lake with my binoculars. The pictures of the great blue heron are amazing! I could never get that close to a heron. They usually fly away. Animals (including birds) must have an affinity for you! They know you can be trusted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am a bird lover as well Laurie and fed the birds for years. We used to have lots of cardinals and blue jays before West Nile Virus struck down so many of them in the mid-1980s, but we now have a lot of jays once again. Earlier this year at Council Point Park I had a lot of cardinals swooping down to get the peanuts put out for the squirrels. They would swoop in and steal the peanuts from under their nose – I had a great time with the camera with those cardinals but they seem to have disappeared and I hope they return again, especially once the snow is here for nice photos. Here is one of the cardinals who swooped down on the path right in front of me. I also bought some safflower seeds to treat them, thinking I’d lure more o the cardinals to the perimeter path, but they preferred the peanuts. https://lindaschaubblog.net/#jp-carousel-9125
      Thank you – I think because I talk to the birds and squirrels that maybe they trust me – I talk to them softly and they seem to respond and gravitate to me – either that or they like having their photo taken … posin’ for peanuts!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        We have a lot of jays and cardinals in the little woods behind our house. They are fun to watch, especially if it snows. I never saw them stealing food from the squirrels, but some of our neighbors who put out bird feeders have anti-squirrel devices on them!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Those squirrels at residential bird feeders are ruthless sometimes. The look on a squirrel’s face as a cardinal swoops in and grabs a peanut right on the perimeter path is priceless and I wish I had a picture of it. The jays and cardinals are so beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed the whole post, but the story of the Three Jays was pure fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Anne and I was so surprised when Mike said that he knew this company and the owner and his son Joseph. I think that design was burnt right into the marble. I love little stories like that because had I not been there and saw the man and a truck, I’d have never known it existed – there are many memorial trees in the park, all with identical stones underneath them. That’s how I kept track of the turtle nest as there was nothing remarkable about the soccer field but the nest was next to a memorial tree with a plaque, so I memorized the plaque name.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Trying to take nature shots has to be one of the hardest ventures one can do! Your patience was rewarded! Congratulations LInda! I’m sure this will fuel your future shots!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Wayne – coming from you, a professional photographer, I appreciate the compliment. After stalking the heron every opportunity I had, I am happy with these photos. The squirrels are easy most of the time, BUT, I still come home with pictures of squirrels missing snouts or tails because they ran away from me while I was still taking the picture.

      Like

      • It takes much more effort to get “the” shot than meets the eye.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That is very true Wayne – I am uploading pictures as I write this message … some shots from Monday of the squirrels eating the suet and running around on the ground. I have one shot of a very long and furry tail and nothing else and two shots of squirrels with no heads. Those squirrels were no more than three feet away from me when I took the shots but they are quick on their feet, even as chubby as they have gotten as they gear up for Winter.

        Like

      • maybe if you whistle they might stay still for a second or two to take the shot?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’m going to try that Wayne. They’ll sit still once they are on haunches and eating, but sometimes they run so quickly, that I miss a shot that would have been a good or cute photo. That’ll floor them – I’ll try that tomorrow. I always talk to them whether they approached me first, or I am nearing them … that and wiggle the bag of peanuts.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad you got to solve the mystery of the memorial stone! Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a beautiful walk you took us on here. It sounds like one of the most magical place for any nature lover to escape to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Zena – it was a sunny day and I have to tell you that this year has been so devoid of sunshine. I know there are often those gray and blah days in the Winter, but we’ve had this all through Spring, Summer and Fall. I certainly hope this is not the new norm. But it was beautiful last Sunday and several trees, those hangers-on with their golden leaves, were reflected in the water and the mallards and heron in the water together – it was just a picture perfect Kodak moment! Today, not so much … a wintry precip day … Mother Nature didn’t know whether to snow flurry or sleet or rain.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s