Well, had I known the weather would be so cooperative throughout December, I probably would not have gone on a marathon walking-and-photo-taking session back on the weekend of December 8th and 9th. Who knew? But, on that weekend, it was finally sunny for a change and I was happy to see that bright orb, and, who cared if there was a 15-degree wind chill when I left the house, and the fact that Lake Erie Metropark is right along the water? It is Michigan and there was no snow, so I bundled up and off I went because it was time to:
I’ve already cherry-picked some photos from the Saturday, December 8th jaunt. You will recall the gaggle of geese that numbered at least a hundred, the seven swans a swimming and I introduced you to the fisherman that I was chattin’ it up with, while we mingled with the mallards in the marshy area just off Cove Point.
Mother Nature had sprinkled snow, Jack Frost was by with ice.
We didn’t have any snow or ice where I live on that frosty morning, but just sixteen miles away, there was some snow along the many pathways.
Over by the Marshlands Museum is a weathered-looking shed. I don’t know what they keep in it, but I like how it sits on that wooden walkway and looks so rustic amongst the bulrushes and reeds.
As you can see, the wooden walkway had a light covering of snow and the lookout point jutted over the shallow marsh where the water was frozen solid.
The boat launch area.
I stopped by the boat launch site where I visited back in late September just after Hawk Week. At that time many photographers and birders had set up tripods, and/or were gazing at the sky through their long-lens cameras or binoculars, waiting for the next birds of prey to pass overhead.
The boat launch site and pier area were devoid of people, even though the water was deeper and not topped with ice.
It looked desolate, with the Hawk Week sign covered with snow and the picnic tables turned on their sides.
The Cherry Island Trail.
The Cherry Island Trail meanders through the marshy areas, most of which resembled a skating rink. The walking path runs parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline.
It was quite windy that morning and the Phragmites’ feathery-looking seed pods were rustling in the wind.
In the background you see the dark brown seed pods of the lotus plants that bloomed so beautifully in July and August. I was there several times to see them in bloom and they were amazing as you can see if you click here.
There are two lotus beds here at Lake Erie Metropark and they encompass about two acres and five acres respectively. Their leaves can be 20 inches in diameter and the flowers, which rise above the leaves, can be up to 8 inches in diameter when in full bloom. When the blooms die off, all that remains is the dried pod with black seeds. Because the lotus is an endangered plant, it is illegal to pick the flower, or take its seed pods, so that is why these dark brown pods remain embedded in the ice in the marsh or still floating in Lake Erie.
Cove Point was similarly desolate when I arrived.
I stopped to take pictures of the huge gaggle of geese, then walked along the rocky shoreline. This is where I saw the swans in a row and there were more geese that decided they liked flying better than risking their lives by walking on the slippery ice in the area where they had been grazing.
Here is the larger lotus bed, shrunken down, and reduced to seed pods, a much-duller and smaller version of its Summertime beauty.
I spent a total of five hours walking around Lake Erie Metropark on the day these photos were taken – the skies were blue, the walk was brisk, and it felt really good to get out and enjoy nature.