I thought I’d take a little creative license and tweak John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” lyrics just a tad for the title of this blog post. I know that song will be an earworm for you the rest of the day now. I prefer the Tina Turner version myself.
It’s been over a month since I took this trek and captured some images along the Detroit River – it was on Groundhog Day, February 2nd. I wanted to stay outside as long as I could to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the predicted 54F (12C) temperature later in the day, but when I stepped outside in the early morn, it was a little chilly, so I scurried back inside to grab a heavier jacket since I’d be down on the waterfront.
This was a three-park day on that gorgeous Sunday, with the first stop taking the longest, at Council Point Park. I was only going to stay about an hour at that venue, but, you may recall, on that trek I spent considerable time mesmerized by the Canada Goose, who was not grazing on grass, nor scamming the squirrels’ peanuts, but wrangling a fish. I was able to take a series of photos of the goose with its prize; in case you missed the post, just click here.
It was a Sunday stroll to savor.
After leaving Council Point Park, I drove to Bishop Park in Wyandotte. Wyandotte is a fairly cosmopolitan city and its business district and many eateries are found in close proximity to this riverfront park. Once warmer weather arrives, there are many events in the areas adjacent to the waterfront like fireworks, street fairs, parades and the like. Bishop Park is not a large park, just 12.2 acres, but has a veterans memorial, small playground, pavilion and picnicking amenities. Its boardwalk stretches just about one city block, so it’s not a place you’d go to bulk up on steps for your walking regimen. Bishop Park’s biggest draw is the scenic view of big freighters as they glide past Hennepin Point and sometimes pass one another on the horizon. The kayakers come to the launch area on sunny Summer days.
The wooden pier, which juts out over the Detroit River, is a favorite spot for anglers and home to the City’s Annual Fishing Derby which has occurred the first Saturday in June for over three decades.
But on this morning, surprisingly, just a handful of folks were Sunday strolling. Perhaps they would gather once the temps warmed up later in the day. It was kind of windy and I was mindful of those occasional gusts as the wind buffeted me a few times while I walked along the pier and riverfront. I was grateful for the guard rails as I watched waves leaping up and lapping against the seawall, even though not a single boat was in sight. You can see the flags flapping in the stiff breeze.
If you close your eyes while here at the Detroit River’s edge, the shrieking seagulls could make you think you are walking along a beach shoreline and not just a block away from a bustling business district. Surprisingly the seagulls were absent though. In the Summer, the bold and brazen seagulls have been known to swipe a hot dog or hamburger bun right off someone’s BBQ grill at Bishop Park. Then yelling, or maybe a little swearing ensues, something like “hey wait a minute – come back with that! … um, maybe not – I guess it’s yours Bud.”
The sun was shining brightly for the first time in several weeks, and even I, the ultimate weather worrier, had to concede that maybe the two Groundhogs, the infamous Punxsutawney Phil and Woody, Michigan’s female woodchuck, (whose predictions are more accurate than Phil’s), were spot on in their early Spring prediction. “How nice if the snow and bitter cold were done for the season” I thought. As the sun got stronger and brighter, I knew I would savor this little “Spring Fling” should Winter make a return visit, so I would indeed “seize the day” as that expression goes. I even unzipped my coat as suddenly it seemed unbelievably and uncomfortably warm, despite the strong winds.
Enamored of eagles.
After departing Bishop Park, I walked around downtown Wyandotte a little, then headed to Dingell Park, just about 2½ miles away. The beautiful day had brought a few fishermen to this riverfront venue, as well as spectators with binoculars pressed up against their eyes and photographers toting tripods and long lenses. All gathered silently at the boardwalk, hoping for a glimpse of, or a perfect shot of, a Bald Eagle.
The pavilion area juts out a little over the cove. Sometimes the cove area, with its rocky shoreline and extremely clear water, may be teeming with Canada Geese, Mallard and Canvasback Ducks and Seagulls; even the occasional Mute Swan or Great Blue Heron will put in an appearance to the delight of children and adults.
But the main attraction every year, mostly in January and February, are the Bald Eagles that live in the trees on Mud Island, one of the collection of many small, uninhabited islands that are part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and the northernmost island of the Refuge.
Oh, to soar like an eagle …
I’ve visited Dingell Park when a heavy ice covering had multiple shorebirds riding on the ice floes and I blogged about it. It was fun to watch them on the ice as it clinked against the seawall and the floes bounced into one another. But, enjoyable as the waterfowl may be, the crowd is not there to see them, but the big prize, the eagles which dip and dive through the skies as they exit the trees to scope out fish in the Detroit River. Sometimes those eagles will swoop down, talons extended, to grab a silvery shad, or, depending on the amount of ice on the Detroit River, those eagles will perch on an ice floe and simply study any open water for a sign of life. If you go to Dingell Park on Facebook, the site is full of eagle photos every January and February and other waterfowl throughout the year. Here is the link if you care to see them – trust me, my eagle photos will likely never make it to this informal Facebook site.
By late Spring/early Summer the Walleye run makes it difficult to get to this park on a weekend. Pickup trucks with their hitches line West Jefferson Avenue, boats jam the waterways and anglers are elbow-to-elbow at riverfront piers all along the Detroit River, as local fishermen and even those from across the country, come to the annual Walleye run.
While I didn’t get any great eagle shots (or none good enough to satisfy my eagle quest for my 2020 Photo Bucket List), if you scrunch up your face and squint at the pictures just the right way, you’ll find eagles in my shots below.
Post script: I returned again on February 21st and the eagles must’ve slept in. A trip to the riverfront yesterday yielded the very last eagle shot, albeit a bit blurry. Something tells me you have to be in the right place at the right time .