So, IF I had taken the camera …

… I’d have had a lot of photos to share with you in this post.

It’s been almost a month since I instituted my self-imposed “no-camera rule” due to COVID-19. As I’ve mentioned in a few blog posts, I was filled with angst on whether to continue walking in lieu of the pandemic and our state’s ever-mounting deaths and cases from the Coronavirus. I weighed all my options and decided to continue walking, but mask up and not use the camera, to avoid fiddling around my face. The exception would be using the camera around the house, or maybe in the ‘hood if it was a good photo op and no people were around.


To ensure I was not tempted to drag the camera out of my vest pocket for any shots, I haven’t taken it along on my daily jaunts. Instead, I operate on the same principle like putting the rest of the package of Nutter Butters I “started” on Fat Tuesday, plus the Dove Valentine chocolates, into respective Ziploc bags and into the cupboard during Lent, thus thwarting temptation. Out of sight, out of mind.

But, knowing me, I was pretty sure somewhere along the line I’d be fussin’ and frettin’ that I didn’t get that Kodak Moment shot.

There is a prompt on WordPress known as #weekendcoffeeshare.

The headline says “If we were having coffee, I’d tell you ….” Fellow blogger Laurie often uses this prompt. So, I thought I’d model this post after that blogging prompt.

I went almost three weeks and didn’t see anything interesting, i.e. photo worthy, at Council Point Park. The landscape is blah, the “babies” have not made their debut yet … yes, everything is a little humdrum. You have to put on your rose-colored glasses to see past the mundane these days (that is, if your regular spectacles are not fogged up from your face mask – grrrrr).

And then there was last Sunday

So, if I had taken the camera, I might have entitled this post: “IFOs” and that would have been the acronym for “Identified Flying Objects” and this is why.

When I arrived at Council Point Park, two dark objects were on the Pavilion roof. I squinted a little, while wondering if a prankster had put something on that very sloped roof? They looked a little like a pair of Canada Geese. No way! I raised my hand and shaded my eyes – sure enough Mr. and Mrs. Goose were walking around on the Pavilion roof. That is a first for me and it was funny because fellow blogger Sandra had just shown a Canada Goose in a tree a few days before and I commented that I’d never seen a goose anywhere but in the sky, water or strutting around on the ground. So I had time to complete one entire loop and they were still up there – guess this couple was social-distancing from their peers?

I must add that it was chilly and we were in the umpteenth day of high winds – we’ve had March winds all April and our April showers contained snow as well as rain. I swear the crazy weather has not been right since the Groundhog tampered with Winter.

I had barely stepped onto the perimeter path when I saw another IFO. It was a drone hovering fairly low, directly over three teenagers’ heads as they ran around the fenced-in baseball field, their eyes glued to the sky. As I approached where the boys were enthralled with the drone, a sudden gust of wind blew it off course and it flew over the high fence and aimed for a big tree where it spun out of control for a split second; mercifully I didn’t see any birds or squirrels scatter, but that drone fell out of the tree with a thud, its red lights flashing in the now lush grass. The boys, a quizzical look on their faces, saw me and I pointed and said “it hit the tree and was a goner.” One of them sprinted over to the tall chain-link fence, climbed up and over, then retrieved it in an instant. I had prematurely called it a “goner” as it was soon buzzing overhead once again.

I meandered along, no squirrels or birds coming over to greet me yet, but, as I rounded the bend I heard a large splash and noticed a spray of droplets as a male Mute Swan hit the water. He quickly composed himself, willing those huge, flipper-like feet to propel him on his way down the middle of the Creek. Effortlessly, his composure was restored, and with feathers smoothed down and a look of determination on his face, he was on his merry way just moments later. Of course, you know I cursed myself for not having the camera handy to capture this beautiful creature’s image; yes, I believe I would have pulled the camera out, despite there being many Mute Swan photos peppered throughout this blog.

A few minutes later I saw Arnie, Carol and two women walkers coming toward me on the path so I pointed to the Creek and told them to check out the swan. We all stood there, mesmerized by it as I told them of its ungraceful landing. Soon squirrels were gathering around our feet. We kept talking and our furry friends got persistent. Just as Arnie and I were ready to dig into our respective Ziploc bags, one of the women unscrewed a lid on a tall jar of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts and sprinkled some near the squirrels’ feet. Arnie quipped “naked peanuts – you guys don’t even have to crack the shell – you’re spoiled!” Those squirrels cleared the morsels from the pavement in record time. It would have made a cute photo … had the camera been handy.

As I chatted with these walkers, an ominous dark shadow passed overhead and I glanced up quickly as Arnie called out “wow, a turkey vulture – look at the size of him!” That turkey buzzard was buzzing right over our heads and I could have counted and captured the freckles on his bright-red face, had the camera been within easy reach.

We parted ways, and, on my second time around the loop, Harry the Heron was fishing from the cement landing. His eyes were focused on something in the water, that long and pointed beak slightly open and ready to receive the fish he wished to enjoy for breakfast. I watched his fishing method and usually I’d be behind the lens, but this time I was not and he had my full concentration. Unmindful of my presence, he continued to study the water, his beak nearly touching the surface. I never moved a muscle, but then he saw me, totally freaked out and went airborne, squawking the entire way down the passageway. Harry was still another IFO in my morning.

The rest of this five-mile morning meander was uneventful, though I saw a plump Robin gorging itself on a fat worm. I watched the Robin stealthily snatch that worm and gulp it down greedily, while a wriggling and wiggling piece of worm was still caught in that bright yellow beak. Ugh – the image of the poor worm’s demise stayed with me the rest of the day. How I wished I could unsee the Robin’s breakfast feast – yes, nature is beautiful, but a little too raw sometimes.

[Header image from Pinterest]

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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45 Responses to So, IF I had taken the camera …

  1. Nature and the raw worm! I’ll be glad when you feel free to use your camera, although your writing is beautifully graphic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra J says:

    I just love your writing, I can picture every photo you would have taken. I am glad you got to see the geese on a roof. I see it so often on my walk. They do make for a better landing pad then the tree. 🙂 I wonder if the people in the house can hear them on the roof. My dogs would go crazy to hear that. That is so awesome that you get to see all those swans, I can’t even imagine the treat to the eyes that would be. I have found to pairs here, one Trumpeter and one Mute, but you need binoculars to see them. Wonderflu post Linda,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Sandra – I almost went onto your “goose in the trees post” last Sunday to comment and tell you what I saw and decided I saw so many other IFOs that day, it would be fun to make this post and you’d be surprised to read this. It blew my mind after I said “I’ve never seen geese do that!” That swan was very close up – would have made a great picture. They come to Council Point Park, not on a regular basis there, so it’s a real treat to see them. Other venues it is more common … I’m glad I painted a good picture of what I saw. Have a good day Sandra – it’s our last sunny day for the entire work week and lots more rain which will cause more lakeshore flooding. I need to give the car a longer run and it might be worth a trip to the two parks just to see the flooding and to comment on it and show last year’s pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ruthsoaper says:

    Your words create the pictures Linda. Nice job! Sometimes my husband want me to take a picture of something when I don’t have my camera so he will stop me and say. “Look and take that picture in your minds eye.”
    Boy the winds we have had this spring are really something. At least so far we haven’t had any damage from them.

    Like

  4. Robins ripping worms out of the ground is not a friendly site. Especially for the worm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      No, how rude to be pulled out of the ground with all that force! Those Robins slurping down a worm can be amazing – they’re history in a matter of seconds – look Ma, I didn’t even chew it! Ewww!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Eliza says:

    Sounds fun…
    I really enjoyed reading this!
    Swans are awesome… no matter how many pictures you have… how do you know it’s Male?
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie says:

    Thank you for the shout out, Linda! 🙂 Bill has the same problem – he wears glasses and his mask makes them fog up.

    You did see a lot of IFLs. Glad that the drone was not a goner. Boys need some diversion these days. I wish I could have seen the swan landing on the water. I don’t think I can remember seeing a mute swan landing before. Not unhappy I missed the robin eating his breakfast, though.

    I hope the weather improves for both of us by the weekend. I think it’s supposed to warm up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I hear we will be mid-60s this weekend Laurie – yay! You are welcome – I got the idea from your recurring posts. I think that “having coffee” theme has surfaced on Twitter too. Yes, it is a problem with fogged glasses, especially if I take the car to the Park. I wonder if there is something to spray on them – maybe a hack of some sort that is safe for the lenses? I have to put the A/C on to clear the fog from my glasses to drive home on days I drive there. I wore contact lenses for 35 years and loved not having steamed glasses anymore.

      The worm feast was over the top and knowing Robins are somewhat surly, I am sure he did that as I was watching him. I used to work out in the yard hand watering and weeding every day before work (years ago) and I have mulch and stones in my garden beds. I’d water the flowers and the Robin wanted to access the wet mulch and look for worms – he would go around pulling beakfuls of mulch out of the garden trying to find worms. I’d glare at him – he’d glare back. 🙂 An ongoing war.

      I”ve seen it once before and if you think it is something to see geese smack the surface as they land, a swan is much bigger and they are not always so graceful when plopping onto the water. I saw a swan again this morning – wondering if it has a nest nearby as it is rare to see one twice in a week?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………………….since I live near 12 apartment buildings…………………………we see geese walking on top of the buildings all the time……………………..Oh……………..I love watching the swans too………………………..they’re back yipee!………………….and the GBH too!…………………….my favorites…………………………..when i go for a walk every morning……………………I only see squirrels on Goddard Rd…………………………..trying to cross Goddard Rd………………………………because its not real busy anymore………………….and I have a heart stopping moments several times……………………..thinking they are not going to make it across the road………………………………

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That was a first for me Ann Marie and the fellow blogger mentioned the goose in a tree and I was amazed – I never have seen this at Council Point Park. You never mentioned geese on the apartment rooftops so I never thought to ask you about it. I didn’t realize you had swans at your pond either! I wonder if your swans have a nest nearby? I took a close look on the weekend and again yesterday for a swan(s) nest – we saw one last year (Mike pointed it out to two women walkers and they pointed it out to me and said they saw an egg), but then it was abandoned – it didn’t look very secure so maybe they built something sturdier somewhere else or the nest crumpled and the egg(s) fell into the water? A woman photographer I follow on Twitter showed the first goslings on Friday. I’ve not seen any goslings this year and looked to see geese on a nest … nothing there either. I’m with you – I hold my breath with those squirrels … the odd thing is, they venture across the street, go halfway across, pause, then run back where they came from … then suddenly they bolt across. I don’t understand that mindset at all but I see it time and time again. I know you or I would be devastated to hit one – we are bleeding hearts, aren’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Prior... says:

    Hi Linda – your words describe the scenes quite well – so your gift of talented writing comes in handy for this period of time you have decided to leave your camera at home.
    I am still taking some photos – but not nearly as many as I normally do.

    and one photo I would have loved to have seen would have been the vulture – but you did give us the vibe 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Yvette – I was trying to paint a picture of what I saw that day and you know I was kicking myself the entire time for no camera. I think it is probably safe since the Park is fairly large and it is never crowded on the pathway unless you go later. I don’t care to go later as there are kids and dogs … it is actually a dog-free park but it is not enforced. So anything after 10:00 a.m., the bird and squirrel experience is not so great. I was trying to eliminate fiddling around my face with the camera – is that your reason as well? Our stats are very bad here in Michigan; our order to stay home was just extended until May 15th with only landscape/grass-cutting services and golf courses started up, no other business (take-out for restaurant food only) until mid-May (if allowed at all – depends – it seems she may just open outside construction at that time). Right now we enter “baby time” – I have always been able to get gosling and mom shots just before Mother’s Day or follow robins from sitting on the nest to their young fledgings with, lots of pictures. I’m thinking I will do the neighborhood for now, maybe the park if very early in the morning and no one is around. Many of the large parks I go to are flooded – we have had a lot of rain and there is bad lakeshore flooding with water creeping over the shoreline/seawall, across the soggy grass and onto cement walking paths.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Hi – I think you should bring your camera and maybe use it less – I don’t know 🤔 because you might have missed the vulture even if you did bring your camera – sometimes we can’t get the photo in real time awesomeness 😉

        I am not that worried about this virus – did I mention that I think I had it back in January – I am not sure but for 8 days I had something and symptom were very similar – however – I am social distancing to do my part and also – “safety first”
        Oh and speaking of babies – we have some new robins just hatched out front – will share a photograph later
        Happy walking and good day

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Yvette –
        This morning at the Park I had my first gosling sighting – they were much smaller than what usually debuts, and I see gathered in a huddle on the grass. These goslings were in the water swimming after their parents. Of course I was angry I did not have the camera with me, but It might not have been a good shot as they were hugging the shoreline. Saw a Black-capped Night Heron and a possum as well. The goslings clinched it and I decided to just take the point-and-shoot Friday going forward, but need to be down there early to avoid any crowds. The sun is rising much earlier now, so it will be easier. I really feel like I’m missing the whole experience, and you are 100% correct as I have gone to the Park, sometimes many days in a row and not seen a thing. I have been scoping out robins as I enjoy watching them “growing up” and documenting it for my blog. It is 14 days from hatchlings to fledglings – pretty quick isn’t it? So you watch your calendar and see if your new Robin babies fit that timeline.

        They say that people had similar symptoms as early as December and thought it was a bad dose of the seasonal flu. Depending on what expert is on the news, you may now be immune – sometimes they say you cannot be immune. Let’s hope for your sake, it is the former, not the latter.

        Enjoy your walking regimen as well Yvette – we had our first 70 degree day today and the Bradford Pear trees were out – it was just a gorgeous sight.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Oh the blooms on the trees sound wonderful – and glad you had such nice weather – Linda – 😉
        I took a nap late in day (first nap in longggg time) and woke to a lingering sunset with the brightest greens and a bird symphony.
        It felt extra good with some tea.

        Now I have a little work today and dusk had set in.
        I will keep you posted on the baby birds out front –
        And happy walking 🚶

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, please do – You can take a few pictures and show a chronology how they grew … I did that a few years ago and chronicled their growth every few days. They were quite scraggly at first and made you wonder how this runty-looking thing could be a bird eventually. I am going to shut down shortly as it is starting to rumble a little out there.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. too bad you missed out on some great photo opportunities!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I was mad at myself Wayne because I only saw those four walkers and we congregated at one point in the pathway and there were no other people so no issues I am sure as to virus germs and they were all unmasked. The three teens playing with the drone were in a separate fenced-in area (a baseball field that is set apart from the walking path). Yesterday I saw Harry the heron and had a few male cardinals swooping down to the pathway for peanuts. And I saw the pair of goldfinches again yesterday. I’ve never seen them that early and want to research if that is unusual – there are no thistle seeds there now and surely can’t be any grubs … they were singing beautifully and the trees have not leafed out so I would have a good shot of them. I hate not having the camera with me on purpose … bad enough when I’ve forgotten it at home as I was taking pics off the card and didn’t put the camera back in my pocket. And then there have been no weekend excursions with the bigger camera which is a bummer – especially this Summer as it is going to be good weather and warmer … that’s what they say as of now.

      Like

  10. You could try point and shoot with the camera or mobile phone for general views Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • without removing mask or putting camera to eye

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think I am going to try that this weekend Andy – we are supposed to have a nice weekend weather-wise and warm-wise, so I am going to switch to a cloth mask and finally I won’t have the fogged-up glass lenses which has been problematic too as we’ve had chilly weather. I have been using an old dust mask which I told myself is too awkward for getting the camera too close to my face. I don’t see using the DSLR for a while though, but I think the point-and-shoot should be used if I keep it far enough away. I ordered some bandanas a few weeks ago and they recommend using each one once, then washing it. I ordered enough that I don’t need to wash them everyday so discard when I get home and the camera is already put away in my pocket. Michigan is very bad for our stats – the tenth most populous state, but third for Coronavirus deaths and cases – staggering stats. We are told that our safe practices, including mask use, will be happening for a long time. I hate to miss all the baby birds in the next few weeks, or any other photo ops in the months ahead, but at this time especially the goslings as they make their debut – I’ve not seen any in our Park yet.

        Like

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I was thinking of returning to the point-and-shoot camera Andy … when I took the shots of the squirrels out in the front for the cookie caper post I did not have the camera close tor my face but that was my house, but I just would not use the bigger camera I use on the weekend. I don’t have a mobile phone – well I have one, but it is not a smartphone, just a simple flip phone. I sure miss having that opportunity to take pictures – yesterday I saw a couple of male cardinals, a pair of goldfinches and the heron again and it was a beautiful sunny day. Grrrr.

      Like

  11. Too bad you can’t take your camera but very smart! My husband woke up to a blue heron having breakfast with my fish in the pond. I “Had” 8 koi size gold fish and always cover the ponds with a net as they are here every year. This year I decided to leave the net off but color the water dark blue with a non toxic water dye. Well I woke up and went to look and only 4 remained, 2 in each pond. I got my net and scooped up 2 and put them with the other 2 remaining fish. Then I floated 2 plastic milk crates for the fish to hide in. I doubt they are still alive but I tried. The good news is now I won’t have all the work of taking care of the fish. Instead I can sit at my bench and enjoy the ponds water fountain sound and the birds. Usually frogs visit the ponds so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I shouldn’t “like” this comment – the poor goldfish! I went to a local homeowner’s Butterfly Garden Walk a couple of times – you “pay” by donating shelter needs from their “want lists”. She had a big pond with koi in it – first time I had ever seen a pond and it was beautiful, so I can imagine how much work it was to maintain it. only to have the heron come along and feast on the fish.

      A fellow blogger in Pennsylvania has a pond and the heron goes fishing in it and she tried using a net last year and the frogs got caught up in in so she put pieces of board over where the most fish congregate to discourage the heron. That’s a real shame Diane.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Joni says:

    Linda, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t take pictures. Your descriptions are so vivid that it’s like we there with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni – I was hoping my words could convey just what was going on all around me, since I could not snap pictures of the “real deal” so I’m glad you enjoyed my trip to the Park as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

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