Finally … back-to-back days brimming with sunshine, which made for two perfect walks in my favorite nature nook. I was happy that I could have belted out “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here!” That would be for my furry friends only, because most of the walkers are still at large. I was at Council Point Park for over three hours this morning, between walking, doling out peanuts and taking pictures. So, I have decided to run down the alphabet from “A” to “Z” to tell you what I experienced today with my eyes and ears:
A is for AMBIANCE. Ahh, this venue never disappoints and I got there early enough that I had the Park to myself … just the critters and me.
B is for BIRDSONG. The first noise I heard as I stepped on the perimeter path this morning was a Red-Winged Blackbird and that was music to my ears. Once the marshy area comes alive again, the Red-Winged Blackbird is a staple among the reeds with his identifiable call. Hearing it gave me newfound hope that Spring, still eleven days away on the calendar, may actually be waiting in the wings after all.
C is for COLD. Yes, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining, but it was mighty cold. I was dressed for the 21 degrees F (-6 C) temps, but that wind was whipping around at 16 mph (25 kph).
D is for DRAB AND DESOLATE. We have had a wacky Winter season. Last Winter we had 62 inches (157 cm) of snow and we still had snow in early April. This year, it’s not been the snow, as much as the ice and cold. It clears up nicely, bare pavement once again, and then we get more snow, but it is usually a wintry precip which causes accidents and Your Roving Reporter to venture no farther than the driveway. Winter has left its mark on the Park as well, and it looks rather drab and desolate these days.
E is for ENCOUNTERS OF THE WEIRD KIND. The first time I went around the perimeter path this morning, I had an usual cast of characters scrambling for peanuts – no, not just the squirrels, but Cardinals, Blue Jays and the aforementioned Red-Winged Blackbird. At one time, three different birds and the squirrels were noshing nuts along the perimeter path. I took some pictures, but this was my favorite of a bird and squirrel who were almost too close for comfort, don’t you think?
F is for FURRY FRIENDS. Of course no walk at Council Point Park would be complete without a few squirrel photos thrown in. I wavered on how many is too many squirrel pictures (I know … they all look alike sometimes) and settled on these. Yes, only three photos, but … there are some photos of Parker coming up later in the post.
G is for GEESE. About an hour after I arrived a huge flock of geese flew overhead, honking their heads off. They were impressive in perfect V-formation. Their signal caller said “land here!” Suddenly, there they were about twenty feet from me. They regrouped and began to graze. These are just a fraction of the gaggle. I suspect the cold ground was bothering their feet as many of the geese were standing on one leg. I tried that stance when the bus was late in the Winter and it didn’t help one iota.
H is for HAZE AND FREEZING FOG. Early this morning when I first got up, there was a freezing fog advisory. “Oh great!” I thought. I originally planned to go here as well as Heritage Park, but decided to just stick close to home. You can see the haze that remained despite the sun breaking through. The grass was coated with a light frost and the asphalt path was slick in some places.
I is for ICE. This ice is just not nice! We had frigid temps this week when the mercury dipped way below zero for the air temp, not just the wind chill. The ice on the Ecorse Creek remains frozen solid and there were no visible breaks in the ice where ducks could swim. The powdery snow from Sunday afternoon settled onto the ice and stayed there when we got the precipitation later in the day – ugh for Winter!
J is for JAY. Peanuts on the pathway for the squirrels tempted several birds to come down and snatch a few, just like what happens on my front porch. You already saw the Red-Winged Blackbird with the squirrel, but the Blue Jay was eyeing those peanuts from his high perch above. He swooped down when the coast was clear.
K is for KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS. Yesterday I was greeted with a passel of hungry squirrels and today as well. The ground is frozen and I wonder if their new benefactor is away on vacation? I was hoping to meet this person, based on the description I was given, but saw no one yesterday or today. So, as to my furry friends, I decided to kill them with kindness. By the third time around today, they no longer came to see me. The peanuts were gone – they were all filled up and tucked back in their nests. I left more peanuts on the picnic table since tomorrow is not promising for a walk.
L is for LINDA AND PARKERS’ SHADOWS. Last year since we had so many rainy weekends, for a while I’d count each sunny day as a “good shadow day” … well, from the header photo, you see it was a brilliant blue sky. The bright sun made it a good shadow day and, while shadows are not exactly stellar when you are trying to get a good picture, they are good examples of Parker dancing around me in anticipation of peanuts.
M is for MYSTERY BIRD. I can I.D. most of the common birds around the ‘hood and the Park, but a small bird alighted in a nearby tree. The sun was so strong, I was merely pointing the camera and clicking away at the Jay and this bird and hoping for the best. I couldn’t identify it, nor its song, but this fellow studied my every move and did not come to the path for peanuts.
N is for NUISANCE. I’ve decided that cold weather is a nuisance when picture-taking in the Winter, because juggling peanuts, the camera and heavy gloves is definitely not for amateurs.
O is for OMG – PAVEMENT CRACKS! This freeze/thaw cycle we’ve had all Winter has been bad for the roads. I showed you one of Michigan’s car-swallowing potholes a few weeks ago – this large crack in the perimeter path has just happened in the last week.
P is for PARKER. Of course, I had to include some photos of my favorite Park pal who rates his own letter of the alphabet. Yesterday and today Parker caught up with me on the perimeter path. I think he, and the other squirrels, came down from their nests because there were no squirrels at ground level when I arrived. It’s nice to know I still rate a personal visit with my frequent absences due to the icy walking conditions in the ‘hood.
Q is for QUIET. The first hour of my visit was peaceful. I love it when the only thing I hear are the peanuts being cracked, the Sparrows murmuring and the other birds calling. Even the Red-Bellied Woodpecker was silent as I made my way around the path. Harry the Heron was not in residence, nor were there ducks or swans. The peace of the Park was welcoming, and, as I passed the half-submerged log where the painted turtles sun themselves all Summer, I wondered how many weeks before I hear them plopping into the water, one by one, when I get too close to the Creek banks?
R is for RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD AND ROBIN. I mentioned this fellow already. He followed me around as I was dispensing peanuts and made it a point to abscond with a few while the squirrels were not watching their stash. Though I enjoy hearing his call, I’m not always enamored with the Red-Winged Blackbird who often is a bully to the other birds. Last year he tried to steal the Robin’s eggs, then the hatchlings. I watched him duke it out with Mama Robin a few times and had to intercede and chase him off. He’s picked a fight with the geese as well. There is one in every crowd it seems. As for the Robin, I think the Robins returned to Michigan too early this year. They are also a welcome sight, but I’ve been seeing them for almost two months now.
S is for SNOW. I wonder how many more times I’ll be posting snow pictures – it would be nice if this was it until late 2019, but I fear that is not the case. The dregs of the last snow were still around, even in the tree hollows.
T is for TREES WITH BUDS. Besides noticing the progress of the Snowdrops as I walked past them, it was promising to see the buds on some of the trees.
U is for UV RAYS. The sunlight was so bright, especially glinting off the snow, that I had to shoot blindly a few times, especially the birds in the trees. I’m not complaining after our consistent gray and gloomy weather.
V is for VICTORY. I did five miles today! It all helps toward my walking goal of 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers). Onward and upward!
W X Y Z is for the WEATHER IS NOT NICE TONIGHT! I’d like to just X out the forecast – we have torrential rain, probably an inch or more, plus thunderstorms and 45-50 mph winds tomorrow. It is pouring as I write this post and the winds are quite gusty. Y are you doing this to us Mother Nature? So, I guess we’ll stay home and catch up on our ZZZs we will lose tonight when we Spring forward.
Mother Nature did a good job up until now – and therein is where the asterisk lies.