On this early March morning when I took photos of these Mute Swans, little did I know it would be the last time I gathered with a crowd for a while. So, would I have savored that trip a little more? I doubt it, because my weekend treks are usually solitary.
That morning, even before I arrived at this riverside venue, I had stopped to walk a quick mile at Council Point Park, and, after I was finished here at Dingell Park, I headed to two more boardwalks along the Detroit River and meandered along Biddle Avenue in bustling downtown Wyandotte. It was cold, but sunny, with a very blue sky. People were milling about, enjoying the fresh air. I put six miles on my feet that day!
Yes, there would soon be clouds on our horizon … but today there were eagles and swans.
Within a week of that enjoyable Saturday, the words “social distancing” and “essential” versus “non-essential” as well as the official medical term of “COVID-19” had crept into our vocabulary. Schools and most businesses closed; sporting and entertainment events got knocked down, one after the other, just like dominoes.
So, yes – it’s been a myriad of worries and “new normals” since that carefree gathering of eagle lovers at Dingell Park down on the Detroit River. There we were … all ages and genders, pressed up against the railing and huddled together under the pavilion. We were poised to see majestic eagles, as they soared high above us, and, collectively had itchy “trigger fingers” ready to press the shutter button to show our friends how we spent our early Saturday morning, while they might still be snoozing beneath the covers.
The eagles didn’t disappoint – there they were, flitting from tree to tree, mesmerizing us with their graceful beauty as they swooped across the flawless blue sky. People watched them behind sunglasses, some squinting with their naked eye, while others hurriedly clapped binoculars or a camera against their eyes for a better glimpse or shot of these regal eagles.
I similarly scanned the bare trees and sky for eagles, though I let my eyes occasionally drift over to the cove area where a pair of Mute Swans, largely ignored by the crowd, had slipped away from the Detroit River and glided into this small cove area adjacent to the crowded pavilion.
I took a few shots of the Mr. and Mrs., yet I was greedy for the bigger prize, that being a bevy of swans that I saw in the distance. From my vantage point, the photos I’d be taking would leave them looking like white specks on the horizon. I wondered if they would stray from their current spot to the pavilion area, and, if so, should I await their arrival? I told myself I’d give them about 15 minutes to get closer or I’d be leaving. I rarely wear a watch on the weekends, so to pass the time, I strolled along the crowded boardwalk while looking to take some photos of seagulls, but they evidently decided there was no food handouts and opted for another riverside venue which was more lucrative.
While dwelling on whether to stay any longer, I heard a low voice behind me say “excuse me miss, may I ask what type of camera you are using?” I was both startled and amused by his question, me the novice amongst the professional photographers who had set up tripods with lenses as long as their arm. So I whirled around to see a gentleman drinking from a tall paper cup which emitted steam and the aroma of coffee was wafting in the cold air. He likely had stopped at the nearby café on the other end of the parking lot. I responded to his question, then we chit-chatted on that topic for a while, then gravitated to the weather, the eagles and what not … it was all pleasant conversation. The gentleman drained his cup and tossed it into a trash can, then said “I’ve enjoyed chattin’ with you” and I replied “likewise – hope to see you again.”
Well, I got my wish – it was Swanapalooza!
During that conversation I had my back turned to those swans, so I decided to see if they had paddled closer to the pavilion area and sure enough they had. In fact, a contingent of swans, was the length of a football field away. Wow, did I luck out!
This was the first swan arriving at the entrance to the cove …
Once in the cove area, the swans dispersed … some strayed back into the Detroit River, while a few paired off like these two.
Several swans began diving. If you ever wondered why a swan’s feathers up to its neck are usually pristine and bright white, while that slender neck is so brown, well it is because they are always diving for aquatic plants to eat and digging them out of the bottom of the creek, canal, or in this case, the cove.
For such a graceful creature, they sure look less than graceful when they are turned upside down. 🙂
One Mute Swan gave me a perfect photo op, when it opted to swim close to its avian cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.
The Mute Swans were an unexpected treat, a little bonus for me when I was only looking for eagles and a seagull or two.
After taking a slew of swan photos, I headed to the car and onto my next adventure.