Season’s Eatings.

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I originally planned for this post to appear on December 25th.  I wanted to use Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s quote about the joy of Christmas bells, which goes like this:

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men.

But Mother Nature interfered with my original plan, when off-and-on precipitation was scheduled from Friday through Christmas.  So, I had to implement a Plan “B” and distribute the goodies beforehand.

(The truth be told, I don’t think the critters noticed it was not yet Christmas.)

One day this past Spring I went to lovely Elizabeth Park in Trenton, and, though it was the first week in April, it was a very cold morning at only 24 degrees.  This is such a picturesque park and has something for everyone … a boardwalk along the Detroit River, a marina for boating, lots of ducks to delight in and a scenic perimeter path that encircles the Park.  There are even some odd-shaped exercise stations embedded right in the woodsy areas.

But something else caught my eye on that cold April morning … some nature lovers were giving treats to the critters.  First, a man and woman came along toting two large boules.  They quickly broke up this crusty bread and spread it over a picnic table. Immediately they had “takers” for their bread.  It was then I noticed the nearby feeding station for the birds.  There was a tree with many bird feeders and suet cakes hanging from the branches.  One bird feeder was swinging wildly since a squirrel, misappropriating the birdseed for its own use and benefit, tried to do a balancing act and scam seeds simultaneously.

As I admired this tranquil scene, I took some photos, which can be seen if you scroll to the bottom third of this post.

After I headed back to the walking path, I told myself I was going to do something special for the critters at Council Point Park this Winter and so I have done just that.  It’s been fun watching them enjoying their treats, though, as usual, I’m sure the birds were rarely lucky enough to get past the domineering squirrels and enjoy the sunflower seeds and birdseed I put out for them.

So, now I’ll recreate what I did for my feathered and furry pals at the Park.

Day #1.

Earlier this year, I bought a bag of safflower seeds for the cardinals at the Park.  I had hoped to lure more of these beautiful birds to the ground as I walked on the perimeter path.  Cardinals love safflower seeds but squirrels do not, so I had some method in my madness.  The only problem was, the cardinals preferred swooping down to grab a peanut on the walking path, right from under a squirrel’s nose.

So I still had most of the remaining safflower seeds.  I got a five-pound bag of nut and fruit seeds, a nut and fruit seed block and three seed bells.  Two of the seed bells were strictly black sunflower seeds and the third was comprised of mixed seeds.  I also bought two foil cookie sheets to pile all the goodies into.

all the seeds.jpg

A week ago today was beautiful, full of sunshine and very mild for December.  I decided to go ahead and take my goodies as rain was predicted the end of the week and some lingering precipitation into the weekend.  I wanted to monitor daily how the birds (who am I kidding here …) and the squirrels were enjoying their feast.

I chose the picnic table under the pavilion where my feathered and furry friends could see their treats, plus the goodies would remain dry under the big roof.  I divided and spread the seeds between the two trays, broke up the seed block in two so it was easier to munch on, then plunked the three seed bells into the trays of seeds.

1 food a

1 food b

Then I waited.

I saw a couple of squirrels watching me the entire time – believe me, nothing gets past the squirrels, especially when it comes to food.  I pointed at the table, and even threw a couple of peanuts onto the table as an incentive for them to try what I put out.

1 food add peanuts

But, the squirrels can be stubborn sometimes, and instead of them leaping right over to the treats, a couple of them came nosing around my shoes as if to demand “no, feed us down here – we’ll go check it out after you’re gone!”

I saw no birds or squirrels stepping up to the table, so I left to walk.  By the time I had completed the first loop and had to pass the pavilion area, the squirrels  had discovered their treats – oh, there would be no stopping them now!

I snapped a couple of pictures of those squirrels.

1 food

1 squirrel

Day #2.

The first thing I did when I arrived at Council Point Park Monday morning, was to check out the goodies I’d left the day before.  I was surprised that most of the food was intact, including the seed bells.  Mike, one of the other walkers, caught up with me on the trail and asked “did you do that – the birds were lovin’ it when I got here at 8:00?”  I told him that yes, I was Santa Claus, and said I was inspired by the set-up at Elizabeth Park and originally wanted to hang the seed bells from a tree, but decided against it.

Day #3.

When I arrived on Tuesday morning, the critters had really dug into the treats and clearly more than just one squirrel had discovered those goodies.  It made me smile, especially the way this squirrel, who you’ll recognize as Stubby, (the squirrel missing half his tail), insisted on sitting right in the tray of food – a little uncouth perhaps, but he was enjoying himself, and who am I to criticize his manners anyway?

3 stubby c

After he pretty much demolished one of the sunflower seed bells, he moved on to the seed bar.

3 stubby d

Day #4.

The fourth day I sweetened the pot a little by adding some peanuts to the mix.  I knew they’d go over big with the cardinals and jays if they could get past the guardians of the gates, er … the squirrels, who were hogging the goodies.  The peanuts were mine.  I bought a can of cocktail peanuts for the holidays, and, just like my friends the squirrels, I could not keep my paws out of the peanuts, so I brought them along before I did any further damage to myself.  (After all, I still have all the Christmas cookies to get through.)

4 food a

4 food b

They were gone by the time I finished walking and headed for home.

Day #5.

Seeds were scattered all over the place  by Thursday – what a mess if it was in the backyard.  Clearly all the treats were a hit and my guess is the squirrels are gorging themselves after they beg for peanuts on the path like they are starving – we walkers are such suckers!  I approached the pavilion area, with all that food, and a squirrel came down the tree headfirst, clearly with peanuts on his mind!

got peanuts.jpg

Day #6.

Well, I didn’t make it down to the Park for Day #6 because we had a steady rain on Friday morning and I stayed tucked inside the house.

Day #7.

Well their treats are disappearing fast.

7 food

Gee, I wonder why?

7 squirrels

Many of the walkers have enjoyed watching the antics as well.  Some people had estimated that the food would last well into the new year, but I’m not so sure about that – more like through Christmas Day.  Next week I’ll give you one update.  I am going to put out some more suet throughout the Winter.  But meanwhile …

The Ecorse Creek … the eatin’ is good here too!

There was more food enjoyed than just these seed treats at my favorite nature nook.  Remember when I mentioned the other day how I glean information about Council Point Park from other people who walk there at other times?  For several weeks, we’ve had seagulls swarming around overhead.  I wondered why, and even mentioned it to a few of the other walkers.  Even more interesting to me, was the fact that what seagulls weren’t buzzing and swooping overhead, were sitting on the surface of the water, much like a duck, goose or swan would sit.  I’d never seen seagulls do that before.

seagull soloseagulls many1

Last Sunday I was studying the movements of Harry the Heron who was fishing in the Ecorse Creek.  I stood like a statue, lest he should see me and bolt, and I had my camera poised to capture him getting a fish.  My persistence was rewarded when Harry landed one and I caught him in the act.

heron

Considering he was across the Creek, and I was balanced precariously on a slippery slope trying to get the photo through a tangle of skinny branches and reeds, I was happy how the photo turned out.  While I stood there gazing at this heron, a trio of walkers came over to see what had piqued my interest.  They told me two other herons were at other places in the Park – three herons in one day … that had to be a record!

The next morning I positioned myself at the Creek embankment once again, as I noted that Harry the Heron was in fishing mode.  Another walker saw me standing there and I described how Harry had grabbed that fish in his beak and gulped it down in a heartbeat.  I even detailed how I saw the fish wiggling around as it went “down the hatch”.  Oh my!  I was told the herons and seagulls are in hog heaven because the shad are running.  Because inquiring minds want to know, I said “I guess a shad is a fish?”  He nodded yes, and said they were running like crazy and he saw them in groups, thick in the water, earlier in the week.  So, I learned something about shad and why the herons and seagulls were so active at the Creek – they are still hanging around as of this morning, so the shad must still be there.  Yesterday I saw a guy fishing for them off the cement landing.  I think you’d need to catch a lot of those little shad to make a fish fry, but maybe he was going to supplement his dinner with Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks, you think?

I am happy I did these treats for my feathered and furry friends.  In an ideal world, the birds and squirrels would sit side-by-side and share these treats, and the scene would resemble a Christmas card from National Wildlife Federation, so in my mind’s eye this is what really happens while I am not there to see it. 🙂

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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44 Responses to Season’s Eatings.

  1. Laurie says:

    Stubby will have to roll off the picnic table if he continues to eat all of your treats! The picture of Harry with the fish is remarkable! I have seen herons fishing before, but I never in a million years could get a photo like that. Thank you for sharing, Linda. I enjoyed your “Christmas” post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Laurie – I am glad you enjoyed it. I’ve tried several times to get a shot of Harry grabbing a fish and I was finally successful. I think we’re going to start calling this roly-poly squirrel “Chubby Stubby” for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your imaginary scene of all the animals enjoying your treats together. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AJ says:

    That is such a good idea! My co teacher always uses the pumpkins from Halloween as bird feeders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Oh, they have been having a feast on these treats. I was going to hang the bells in the trees with bows, but thought they might not find them or choke on the bows, so I just did this – no worries that they can’t access the food! I haven’t seen any birds, but other walkers have and I purposely went there late Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the birds get some of the seeds as well. Today when I was there, a squirrel had dragged some of the seed block to a tree and was trying to hoist it in his mouth up the tree (I assume to his nest) … I got a picture of him trying to haul – hopefully it came out, I haven’t looked yet. A lot of people leave the pumpkins out and the squirrels eat the rinds and the pulp. I’m all for natural treats for them – they liked the mini pumpkins I gave them back in October. Expands their horizons. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hehe, such lucky squirrels! None of it lasts long when they’re about. 🙂 We now have one in our garden that sits all up right on the hedgehog house, surveying the garden. I think he’s decided it’s his. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Those squirrels are so spoiled Heather and they think all bird seed is their own. When I still had bird feeders, they made it their business to find a way to infiltrate the feeders and gain access to the seeds. My next-door neighbor had so many types of bird feeders and suet and those mesh socks where you load them with thistle seed … squirrels got into all of them! They never give up … and the squirrel-proof feeders don’t always work either … they’ve been known to break the feeders in their quest for seeds. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………Season’s Eatings………………I left something by your side door this morning

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – I retrieved it and will save it for tonight and Christmas – you already know I think you are the sweetest person on earth!! I will savor and enjoy these treats … Merry Christmas!

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      • Ann Marie stevens says:

        Miss Linda…………..I just finished making the Buckeyes too……………………………so I will be bringing them over tomorrow morning

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thank you Ann Marie – you have given me plenty already though … that is fine, you please keep them. I won’t be able to fit through the door with all that you gave to me today!

        Like

  6. Sarebear's Writing Spot says:

    You are so kind to the animals and I love it 🙂 My kind of human!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      We are kindred souls Sarah – I can feel it from here. They loved their treats … they’ve kinda trashed the tray and goodies and I found one squirrel had dragged part of the seed bar to a tree and ws trying to haul it up to its nest. Ha ha … way too heavy for him to get a grip on it. I took some pictures of him trying though and will use them on Wednesday. I suspect he’ll gnaw it down and take up pieces, a little at a time. It is Christmas – what happened to him sharing with his brethren … that idea just flew out the window!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful gift for the critters! Have a great holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. now that they’re stuffed like a Christmas stocking they’ll need to jog around the Park or more like roll around!
    If they could talk they’d say thank you Linda & Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes for sure Wayne – some of them look like I could roll them like a log, and I’m going to start calling the squirrel with no tail “Chubby Stubby” … he is really getting fat. One enterprising squirrel dragged a big piece of the seed bar off the picnic table and was trying to haul it up a tree (probably to his nest). I looked at him … I don’t think I shamed him though. Got some pictures … he finally abandoned that effort, probably will have to take bite-sized pieces instead. I thought the holidays was for sharing?

      Like

      • I’d set up a winch system to haul everything up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, he should come up with a plan pretty quickly before the other squirrels see it laying there. I actually had to resist putting it up on one of the branches (it wasn’t a huge tree) to help him out, just because he had the audacity to do this. He was struggling and dropped it and looked over at me like “Help!” When it comes to food, the squirrels are shameless sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Photos are great and the text is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks John – glad you liked this post. Those squirrels are funny – they’ll still come and beg at my feet, or scamper over to the other walkers, (several who have taken to bringing along peanuts since the squirrels will run to them too, even if they didn’t previously feed them). The squirrels act like they haven’t eaten in days and all these seeds at their disposal … they are shameless. 🙂

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  10. Linda, great picture of the heron gobbling down his fish! The squirrels are lucky to have you as I’m sure it can be tough in your area for them to get food when everything is frozen and covered with snow. Merry Christmas Linda! 🎄

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sabine – glad you liked that heron and I’ve tried forever to get that picture of him with a fish and that was with the small camera! Yes, once the snow comes, I have no idea how those squirrels will find the peanuts they so diligently have been hiding since late August. I try to get down there in the Winter if the pathway is not icy – they don’t plow or sweep it off. Thanks and Merry Christmas back at you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Mackenzie says:

    You are too sweet to put all that together for the sweet little critters! I love your thinking that they all congregate Snow White style to enjoy the goodies. They are so lucky to have ya!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Now that is what I call a Christmas feast! What a great idea, and I’m glad they all enjoyed it. I’ve occasionally seen seagulls riding the waves at the beach, but it’s a rare sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That was a first for me Joan – very interesting how they do that. I am going to catch up with the rest of your comments later if that’s okay … today is my boss’ first day back from vacation and we do all the billings today and I’m hoping it is an early day, though I am here and staying put – I have not done anything for New Year’s Eve in decades. I have not checked in at work yet … hoping it is not icy today … it was a little icy on the path, so I walked on the grass.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No problem……priorities first!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I usually try to reply to comments in the morning, but I had taken a lot of pictures yesterday to use in today’s post and figured I’d upload them while I did comments. The Shutterfly site that I use was very slow and wanted them for today, so I had to load about 5 pictures at a time and it didn’t give me enough time to go anywhere else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Hi Joan – yes, I did a ton of posts … these ones you missed … we have some thunder rumbling so going to Reader then will shut down … don’t like to have the laptop on if it is storming, and will be back … have lots to catch up on and write a post as well. The links are below:
        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/12/29/had-i-known/

        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/12/25/merry-christmas-2/

        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/12/22/it-takes-a-village/

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’ve got them all. If I click on your site in the Reader then it brings up all your posts in the order in which you posted…

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        OK, that’s good, I wasn’t sure so I went through all of the ones you commented on, so wasn’t sure if you saw them all – I wrote an awfully lot of posts in a short time. I only intended to do one this week and then the incident happened in the Park yesterday with the guy and the squirrels, and also one of the memorial trees I highlighted back around Thanksgiving (the red/white and hockey wreaths), the family put up a plaque on the tree, I believe yesterday morning, for their loved one (he died on 01/03/02 at age 42) … so it is a plaque with his name/birthdate & death date/and his picture and things he enjoyed … since he will have passed away on this anniversary tomorrow, will do a post … the whole time I was taking pictures, Parker sat next to me on the bench munching peanuts – very cute – you will get a kick out of him. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am behind with my reading again, as I have been having internet problems the past few days….it is back up again but fairly slow….

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I know Joan … it is so easy to fall behind – for me, even though my boss was gone from 12/20 and back in the office 12/31, and I was sitting here writing, picking photos and just checking in every so often to ensure everything was going smoothly, I ended up writing all days for about ten days and it really does take a chunk of time. What really did it was that entire weekend I spent walking and taking pictures – it took me a few weeks to sort them down, and write the narratives.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. What a lovely Christmas gift for your feathered and furry friends. I love how it gave other walkers so much pleasure watching them too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      We were all enjoying watching the squirrels – some of the walkers said they saw birds eating it too. It was fun to go every day to see how far they got. The City decided to clean it up, even though there were still safflower seeds that the cardinals like on the bottom, but they couldn’t see it due to all the spent sunflower seeds. Oh well – they had fun, as you will see in a later post, the squirrels took off with the seed bells and seed bar to take back to the wife and kids. 🙂

      Like

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