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