Primping for Spring’s arrival.

Today is the first day of Spring!

The arrival of Spring with its balmy temps plus teensy shoots and delicate blooms making their annual debut, is always a delight in a four-season state. Midwesterners wistfully long for Spring deep in the heart of Winter. We had such a mild Winter season that many times it felt like late March – in fact, the temps were up and down, as much as a 30-degree difference in 24 hours’ time. Yikes – it was almost as bad as the stock market these days.

Though COVID-19 has obliterated most of our normal day-to-day activities, nature and Spring’s arrival are still here for us to enjoy.

Splish-splash I was taking a bath.

It’s time for us humans to shed our multiple layers of bulky clothing and start primping a bit in anticipation of warmer weather. But in the meantime, take a look at these waterfowl doing their daily ablution. For them, this polar plunge, then preening their feathers to distribute the oil, was a guarantee to keep their feathers waterproofed and bodies insulated during the cold Winter days. Waterfowl preen all day long, all year long, but it’s especially important in Winter.

On the morning I took these pictures, it was the second of three trips to Dingell Park on the Detroit River in my quest for Bald Eagle shots that I’ve been writing about. On February 21st, I stole down to the riverfront and shivered in the 14F (-10C), with a real-feel of 8F (13C) temps, with wind gusts to 14 mph (22 kph). Brrr! I got there at 8:00 a.m. as I wanted time to get photos, as well as stop at Council Point Park which is just about five minutes away. It was a work day, so I had to hustle.

Patience is a virtue.

I layered up and wore two pair of gloves, then parked myself at a primo spot in the pavilion area … primo because I was the only person (stupidly) standing there shivering at the River’s edge. I was wearing a puffy down coat (hoping the geese and ducks didn’t see any of those white downy feathers which always seem to escape through the material – I wouldn’t want them to think less of me that I was enjoying a little warmth at their ancestors’ expense). 🙂

However, as cold and frosty as that Friday morning was, the various waterfowl just rolled with it. As mentioned above, as long as the shorebirds are able to take a polar plunge and then preen to distribute the oil throughout the feathers, that oil acts as a water repellent and helps them plunge into those chilly waters without freezing their feathery butts off.

Just chillin’.

The sun was shining brightly, illuminating the pavilion area. I watched the seagulls; some were still roosting, standing on one leg, others kept one sleepy eye closed and watched me with the other. They were huddled together on the ice – my heart went out to them. I decided to use the seagulls’ photos yesterday for Wordless Wednesday and I am sure you could share their pain. There was ice where the seagulls congregated, but in the cove area, the current is strong and there was no ice, just frigid water.

Polar plunge.

The Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks were busy – they were not chowing down on any fish, nor reeds, but it was bath time. I always enjoy watching any bird taking a bath, whether it is the little squirts in a birdbath, a robin enjoying a morning spritz in a homeowner’s sprinkler or even a puddle in the street, to the waterfowl splashing in the chilly waters of a local creek or river setting. When I had my canaries, I bought them several types of bathtubs, all which they turned their noses (er, … beaks) up at, instead favoring their water cup to bathe in. They dived, dipped and then shook their feathers, in a cleaning-and-preening ritual like many generations of birds before them. We always had birds as pets and the budgies/parakeets loved their daily bath time. One parakeet would hop into his bathtub, then look at himself in his mirror afterward and clear as a bell Skippy would declare “he’s a pretty bird!” (My mom taught him to say that – he was not THAT infatuated with his appearance.)

First up … Ms. Mallard (no rubber ducky needed here).

Next, the Canada Geese … BTW, not a honk or a hiss while they primped.

I guess that gander liked what he saw in the water – look how nicely he posed for me.

Hope I gave you a little smile for today. Stay safe everyone.

About Linda Schaub

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, so 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 four 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, though 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. - Linda Schaub
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35 Responses to Primping for Spring’s arrival.

  1. daisydust02 says:

    Photos are just amazing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Linda Schaub says:

    Thank you Daisydust02 – they were so intent on their bathing and preening that I don’t even think they knew I was there!

    Like

  3. Sandra J says:

    The water is so clear where the geese are standing. It does look like they are looking at their reflections in the water. Isn’t it amazing how the water just rolls off of their feathers? I just bought my second rain coat because the first one doesn’t repel water anymore. Nature has it figured out. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Sandra, it is very clear water in this cove area – pretty amazing really. You can stand at the pavilion which juts out a little over the cove area and you’ll see every rock underwater. I was sure that goose was studying his reflection as he was so intently watching the water. Then he kind of pivoted and looked right at me as if to say “go ahead and get your picture while I’m lookin’ good!” It is amazing how the waterfowl stay insulated during the colder weather – you would not think there is that much oil to distribute to their feathers would you?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ruthsoaper says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder Linda. Can you believe I almost forgot what day it is? I have however been spending at least a couple of hours a day outside getting away from the news and enjoying nature. The forecast today looks good. Enjoy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ruth, did you know this is the earliest Spring Equinox since 1896? It’s kind of funny the weather folks said that since it doesn’t actually become Spring until 11:50 p.m. … details, details. The weather is strange … we had a few warmish days, it was coolish and damp when I walked this morning as we had a lot of rain last night, but I am happy I still got out for a walk. I heard it will be like Winter on the weekend. At one time they said we had severe, even tornadic weather for today, but they are not mentioning that so much this afternoon. I have to shut off the news after a while because it is one bad thing right after the other. Is your husband going to be working at the nursery again this Spring – for now you two can hunker down without venturing out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        I know what you mean about shutting off the news – I can only take so much. I did hear that there was a possibility of severe weather but now they are saying just a marginal risk. No my husband did not go back to the greenhouse but will be working landscaping this soon. Today did not feel as warm as I expected it would but the frogs were singing loudly when I was out so that made me happy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        The frogs singing would make me happy too Ruth. I was going to go to Crosswinds Preserve last Sunday – I’ve never been to it and decided on a return visit to the alpaca farm and tooling around Grosse Ile instead. But I follow Crosswinds on Facebook and the next day people described hearing the singing frogs Sunday. We don’t have singing frogs at the Creek, just belching bullfrogs in the Summer. 🙂 It was chilly and damp this morning. I’ve already seen the fertilizing services around the neighborhood and budding trees.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        I have noticed the maples and poplars beginning to bud. 🙂 Those bull frogs crack me up.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Joni says:

    Great shots Linda! Esp. the first one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this post Joni. It was bitter cold the day I was down at the River … I watched the seagulls freezing and the ducks and geese not mindful of the cold weather, just having a good time bathing. I liked the first picture best too because you could see all the duck’s downy feathers up close. I don’t know if the ducks and geese were showing off or trying to dry off their wings faster.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Animals, following their normal spring routine, bring get comfort. I’m watching mating antics going on with chipmunks, squirrels and birds. It always makes me smile. No matter what, life goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Kate – yes, the regular rituals of nature will go on, no matter what is happening in the world around them. I watched a couple of robins tousling in mid-air yesterday … he was really following her around and would catch up in mid-air and fly right into her like a “dive-bomb” … wrong approach buddy. 🙂 She’d take off and land on the ground. Why didn’t she just say “I’m not in the mood” or do they not have that equivalent in bird speak?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ally Bean says:

    I like your photos but am feeling a bit chilled by the thought of bathing on that cold, cold pond. Of course I’m not a bird. Fun to note what your bird friends are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked these photos Ally. I was happy I at least got a few shots for getting myself down to the Riverfront that early on a bitter cold morning. It was the third day in a row of frigid temps and the ducks and geese were oblivious to that cold, but the seagulls in yesterday’s post, looked pretty miserable in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That was fun, especially the bit about not letting your feathers show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I decided to inject a little humor in here Anne – life is too humorless these days, so I’m glad I gave you a little giggle. That is a black puffy coat and every time I wear it, those little downy feathers sneak out of the stitching. It’s gotten a little better since I’ve been wearing it more. My down comforter did the same thing when I first got it.

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      • I’ve never had down clothing, but I did have an eiderdown duvet. It leaked, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Mine needed to be cleaned and I took it to the dry cleaner where I took other clothes since they had an industrial-sized washer and dryer and I picked it up and it was about an inch thick and damp. I said “what happened to it – it’s not poufed out?!” They redried two more times – essentially they ruined it. I was mad and didn’t buy another one. I got mine when Crowley’s (like a Macy’s) was going out of business – got it for a song, but that wasn’t the point.

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      • They should have known better, though I wouldn’t know how to clean feathers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I took my wool hats to be cleaned about five years ago. They were kind of puffy so I could fit all my hair inside them, not squished down like most woolen hats. So they are (or I should say were) made of wool with an inner knitted lining. All made the same – all required dry cleaning. They ruined them all and not just the elastic, the pompoms too, shredding them all over. They shrugged their shoulders … done with them then!

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      • Hope could they ruin so many things???

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I don’t know Anne – but I wish now I had used something like Dryel for the hats … I had them at least 20 years or more … because of the knitted underliner they recommended dry cleaning. I still have the hats in case I can somehow fix the elastic part, but they messed up the inside too and they don’t fit correctly. I really don’t care for these tight-fitting hats I’ve bought. It’s okay as I’m not working anymore, but it would have squashed my hair before to be honest – I have long layered hair which I curled. Plus being out for four or five hours pinches my head after a while.

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      • You don’t want a pinched head!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie says:

    Ugh! Just when you write about peeling off the layers of clothing and welcoming spring, Mother Nature deals a bitter cold and windy day to Michigan. I guess that’s why they say patience is a virtue! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Linda Schaub says:

    Ugh indeed Laurie! We’ve had just crazy weather here … warm two days, cold and rainy two days and its pouring now. Originally they said we were ripe for tornadic conditions as we are having a heat spike tonight/overnight, but they’ve lowered the risk to just bad thunderstorms thankfully. Cold again this weekend though. My mom had a saying for years that she’d rattle off: “Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, always found in women, never found in men.” Hmm.

    Like

  11. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………those were some very fine close-up pictures of the ducks and geese…………..it made me feel cold watching them

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked them Ann Marie – it was such a cold morning and there they were splashing away – not too far from these bathing beauties were the seagulls that looked very cold with ice beneath their feet and bums. That morning was sunshiney for the first time in weeks so that was a little lift.

      Like

  12. Oh the beauty and fresh air! Nature is such a stress reliever in these times! I was working outside for 6 hours a couple of days ago listening to the birds and enjoying the fresh air but I could barely move the next day…lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That was always me the first time out and all the bending and moving. I ordered mulch a few years ago and got 36 bags of it so I could keep it in the backyard under Memorial Day weekend. By the time I laid all that mulch, and crawling around under and around bushes to ensure I didn’t damage any branches, etc. I could hardly straighten up. You have a lot bigger property than I do – no wonder you are sore.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Life goes on while we humans hunker down and distance ourselves, doesn’t it? Will you be able to keep stocked up on peanuts while we are sheltering in place?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it does go on – nature seems to be status quo doesn’t it Janis? I have about 9-10 bags of peanuts now and since we have what our Governor is calling a “stay home and stay safe” order that goes into effect tonight at midnight, all non-essential businesses must close and banks, gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies are okay to go to, and takeout food – all else is closed. We are permitted to go to parks however – I am grateful for that and will continue to visit my little park daily. I can’t go empty handed, so I hope I have enough peanuts, but will resist going grocery shopping if possible. I may give them just one or two and the squirrels and birds will likely call me out for being stingy, but at least they’ll last longer. My former HVAC tech now owns a Wild Birds Unlimited store and I follow that store on Facebook. He will deliver anywhere in the area free with a large purchase – I even thought I might go that route as you order them on a credit card, they have drop/no contact delivery. At least help Phil out a little, even though pricier. He showed a video of all their inventory as he is encouraging people to still feed the birds – our Orioles will be arriving soon, as will the hummers in mid-April.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have a good heart, Linda. I hope your park stays open. They had to close parks and beaches around here since too many people were ignoring the social distancing requests. Because of their selfishness, we all have fewer places to exercise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thanks Janis … I really look forward to my morning walk, and I stop there first even on the weekend when I go to the larger parks. That is too bad that you are restricted now from going to parks to walk or exercise – there is always someone in the crowd who spoils it for the others. So, now you have no diversion and that is sad.

        Liked by 1 person

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