Swanee River.

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.

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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44 Responses to Swanee River.

  1. Sandra J says:

    And so many swans, and you got to see them so close. What a sight that must have been. Swanapalooza, 🙂 I like that. Great photos Linda, and talking about the guy that has a camera as long as his arm. I have seen those during Eagle season. Quite the cameras some of those.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks – glad you like them Sandra. Feel free to use Swanapalooza Sandra – I am sure you will see more swans than me, even “Pelicanapalooza”! Yes, those long lenses and I’ve seen them with a tripod and also photographers wearing a harness that supports the lens better. Saw the harness device the last time I was here. Going to see if I can salvage a walk this morning – we have a rainy day so decided to sleep in a little later again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        That is a good one Linda, Pelicanapalooza. You can use that word with everything. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes – I believe you can have a Pelicanapalooza easily, like you showed the other day when they congregated in the one area of the water in the right hand side of the photo and/or the video. Bingo! You have a ready-made title for a pelican post next time you are stumped for a title!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        I will use that Linda, I have not seen the large groups of Pelicans yet, it has been a few at atime. I did see about 9 of them flying togeather coming in from the East the other day. Where I usually go, there is a lot of construction going on at that place. Maybe they are avoiding that area because of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s a shame about the construction ruining your morning ambiance … when I was at the Park last, on Tuesday, just as I was leaving, the grass-cutting crew came in. They come once a week, maybe five or six guys on riding mowers and they converge the same time on the Park. It scares the squirrels and birds back to their nests, the heron takes off … luckily it was near the end of my walk. I bet you will get that picture when they don’t work, like a Sunday morning, maybe Saturday? I think all our construction crews will be working more hours to make up for the shutdown. We had a lot of construction going on this Summer – they had “warned” of it long before the Coronavirus pandemic began.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        Yes, the weekends all the city mowers are taking a break. Earlier the better, before the parks get crowded. We are heading out, try some mushroom hunting today before it gets busy at the parks. Have a good day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a grand catch! That was quite a morning!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes Anne, I was happy that this guy started talking to me as I would not have stayed that long – there were still more swans left at the original place, but the majority of them had moved to the pavilion area.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Uncle Tree says:

    Those are excellent pictures, Linda!
    Your words — light and fluffy, as usual.
    Made me smile. 🙂 Gracefully as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed the words and pictures Keith. I was so excited when they got so close that day. The swans are indeed graceful – I had on my “2020 Birdie Bucket List” to see cygnets at this cove area – every year I have gone down there in May looking to find a swan with her cygnets on her back to no avail. This may not be the year either, but these sure were a treat to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza says:

    Is that mr and mrs mallard? I sometimes wondered!
    💕💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes it is Ellie – the male’s colors are beautiful and the female has the blue swath of feathers but is otherwise brown. When both males/females lose their flight feathers in mid-Summer, all the mallards are brown in their “eclipse phase”. You asked me about the Mr. and Mrs. Swan – so if you look at the last three photos in the post, the first one is the male (a/k/a the “Cob”) and you can see the black raised-up area, like a knob, on top of his beak and the last two photos in the post, show the female with no black knobby growth. This is not true all year around – the male Mute Swan is a bigger bird than the female and it always has that black knob, but it is not as pronounced as in breeding season (early Spring).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ally Bean says:

    Beautiful photos of swans as regal beings, but I, of course, like the one with swan butt up in the air. Made me giggle. Kind of bittersweet to think about how casual conversations, like the one you had with the gentleman, are now a rarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ally – yes they are beautiful, especially when they are all fluffed out and if it is a windy enough day, they look like a boat with its sails skimming along on the water. The swans won’t even paddle, just glide along effortlessly. It is a beautiful sight.

      I also get a kick out of swans with the butt in the air – ducks do it, but not the same as these graceful birds.

      Yes, strangers likely won’t be approaching others, even for friendly conversation for a long time, if ever again. I keep hearing that the handshake may be obsolete even after the pandemic is over. I have a few more conversations I’m going to spotlight in the upcoming weeks. It seems that being in a nature setting encourages strangers to chitchat.

      Like

  6. Joni says:

    Wow Linda….those are the most amazing shots. I especially like the ones with the mallard ducks. I’d much rather watch swans than eagles any day, such graceful photogenic birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni – these were the pictures I told you I was going to use for a Wordless Wednesday post, after you did your swan post, then found my notes on the trip there recently. I had a full day and came home and wrote down where I was – I have already done two other posts from that long day.

      These swans were just beautiful – I liked the mallards being close by too. I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better, so used them both. I have more luck with swans – they are bigger and don’t move around so much. You have to have more lens power to get the eagles up close – mine end up looking like dots.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ruthsoaper says:

    What a sight to see! I especially like the picture with the ducks – they look so small compared to the swans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it was beautiful Ruth – it worked out that I stayed so long talking to the guy or I would have missed it. You would not think the ducks were that small when you see them paddling around, but next to a big swan they look pretty small.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful creatures. We rarely see swans here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes they are Ruth. I don’t see them often where I regularly walk (except the last week when I’ve seen one twice) but the parks near the water have them all the time. Such beautiful creatures.

      Like

  9. Laurie says:

    You did get lucky with those beautiful swam photos, Linda. The seans must have heard you calling them in telepathically. 🙂 You may now have savored the crowds more but I bet you wish you savored being able to take pictures more! Maybe you will be able to move your mask long enough to snap some photos soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Laurie – I think you are right about that telepathic gravitation toward me … they said “let’s give her a few nice poses and maybe we’ll be famous!” I do miss taking the camera and now that I saw goslings on Tuesday morning in the water with their parents, I am thinking to get down there early before the crowd and take a few pictures if I see them … I usually see them on the grounds tucked in a corner by a tree when they are young. We have had two very rainy days in a row. I hate to pass up “baby season” without taking a few shots. 🙂

      Like

  10. Rebecca says:

    How blessed you were to see all these beautiful swans! It’s always fun to see the unexpected. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………………………..WOW………………what a “Swanapalooza”…………………………..I’ve never seen so many swans together at one time………………….great picture………………………………

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Hi Ann Marie – Thank you. I was so lucky that the gentleman talked to me – I likely would not have waited that long as who knew if they would paddle over my way? They were beautiful and it was a gorgeous day. I was the only one taking pictures and admiring them. Everyone else was focused (attention-wise and camera-wise) on the eagles.

      Like

  12. Mackenzie says:

    I so thoroughly enjoy reading your writing Linda- I feel like I’m reading a novel. I have never seen so many gorgeous swans all together. A swanapalooza for sure! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Mackenzie – that was nice of you to say that. I always try to make it like someone should feel they were there with me. I’m happy to give you something light and a swanapalooza to give you a smile. They sure were beautiful all paddling toward the pavilion.
      I was lucky I stayed.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Stunning pictures Linda! I have never seen more than two swans at any one time. You are so lucky to have all these parks, boardwalks etc so close to you. Today was a great day in our yard. The Orioles showed up at the feeders, a red headed woodpecker, cardinals, blue jays, all the regular morning doves, sparrows etc and good ole Mr. Blue Heron. It’s been about a week and I figured there were no more fish left. So today I removed the two milk crates and low and behold I have 5 fish! Two beautiful bright orange with white fins, two albino colored and one baby about 2” long. Yes my fish lay eggs…lol So I decided to put two more milk crates for them the hide in and under to keep them from being eaten. Between the blue dye and the milk crates we may get the best of both worlds. To enjoy the fish and the Blue Heron and Egret.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Diane – I was lucky to see so many of them. I was at Lake Erie Metropark a few years ago and saw an even bigger group of them but they were much farther away. Those swans are so beautiful.

      How nice to see all the birds so close to your house – I would be ecstatic to see that Diane. You know I meant to mention when you said abut the hummer feeders that I heard that the Orioles were back. I follow Wild Birds Unlimited on Facebook and the owner always take pics of his backyard feeders and posts them – he was excited for the Orioles eating jelly. I would like to feed the birds again once I am not working and can put the feeders in a place I can enjoy them and go out during the day. If I am inside all day working, I don’t see the hummingbirds show up when it is hot and sunny, just out in the morning and no hummers are there then When I had the butterfly garden, I used to run outside in the afternoon and take pictures of the butterflies on the butterfly bush. I miss that … I never had an Oriole feeder or hummingbird feeder.

      What a surprise to see 5 fish instead of the 2 that you hoped had survived – I hope they are spared from being in the beaks and bellies of the heron or egret.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. J P says:

    The swans are cool and all, but I am more enthralled by (gasp) a conversation with a stranger. I think I miss these brief random encounters more than I thought I would.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, that’s true JP and striking up a conversation in a nature setting is so commonplace. In fact, my blog post this Tuesday also touches on a conversation with an elderly man who came to feed the birds just after I got there. Interestingly, while walking today at a larger park, I saw about 150 people walking, running, biking and roller blading – maybe 10 had donned face masks. I felt like an oddity. There were fisherman at the boardwalk and they were standing close, very few with masks. I think the beautiful 75-degree weather made people forget about the Coronavirus and safe practices for a while. Usually people smile and say hello at bigger parks when they pass you. I realized no one sees me smiling under the mask, so I ensure I sound cheery when I talk or give a friendly wave.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Swans are such beautiful creatures. It must have been such a blessing to capture their beauty ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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