It was Sunday, March 15th when I made this trek to Elizabeth Park, then bopped across the Grosse Ile Free Bridge to spend the afternoon at the alpaca farm and the airport. You can read about that adventure here if you missed the post.
Really, I was not trying to pack in a lot of sightseeing in lieu of the Coronavirus, which was slowly beginning to set parameters on what we could and couldn’t do for our day-to-day activities. I was merely taking advantage of a sunny, clear day here in Southeast Michigan. Our weather is often changeable and fractious, so to have a great weather day on the cusp of Spring was almost unthinkable. Therefore, I seized the opportunity to get out and enjoy the day.
I strolled around beautiful Elizabeth Park and took a few scenic shots, which I’ll use in another post. But I had my sights set on taking some pictures at the tree with all the bird feeders, which I’ve nicknamed “Birdie Nirvana” so I was prepared with peanuts, sunflower seeds, (both oilers and shelled) and my camera. I approached the tree where the feeders were hanging, then scattered those treats on the nearby memorial stone, like I’ve done many times before. Then I stepped back near a tree in anticipation of the “wildlife” coming for breakfast.
There was a wee bit of action as a black squirrel scoped me out, as if contemplating whether my goodies might be an improvement over the usual calisthenics on the bird feeders with their pesky baffles …
… then he proceeded headfirst, inching slowly down the trunk, with its mottled-looking bark.
Meanwhile, from his perch in the same tree, a Blue Jay screeched a note of appreciation for the offerings and quickly flew down to grab a snack.
The black squirrel was clearly amazed (and annoyed) with the brazen Blue Jay’s presence, but meandered away from him and over to scope out the treats.
I got a few shots in, when suddenly, in the still of the morn, I heard a car door slam nearby, so I turned around. An older gentleman was approaching me and gave me a wave and asked “are you here to feed the critters too?” I nodded and said “yes, I just laid out some treats for them.” “I see that” he acknowledged with an approving glance to the ground, then held up a bag of tortilla chips and announced “I didn’t have anything in the house, and they like their goodies, so I brought these along.”
He struggled to tear open the bag and finally ripped it by using his teeth. Once the bag was open, he sprinkled its contents onto the memorial stone, mixing and mingling chips with some of the treats I had just laid down. There were plenty of goodies for our furry and feathered friends now.
We chitchatted about the beautiful Winter day and the tree with the bird feeders, so I shared what info I had gleaned for a blog post I wrote about this memorial stone near the tree, which honors a woman named Mary Ann Price. He was interested in that story and that caused more chatter, as I told him about my blog. During our conversation I learned we both lived in the same city, enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels and regularly made a 15-mile round trip to Trenton just to enjoy Elizabeth Park. He said he sometimes brought his camera along with the treats; not today though. Today he brought his wife, whom he waved to intermittently, while she waited patiently in the car with the motor running.
During that conversation, the black squirrel had departed and unfortunately no more critters ventured forth. The gentleman seemed reluctant to leave and finally did so, and, as he opened the car door I heard him say “that girl comes here …” and then the conversation abruptly ended once the car door closed. She waved to me, as did he and they drove off.
Holy Guacamole! (Or lack thereof.)
Well, I was solo again and back to the business of waiting on more birds and squirrels to show up. Given the lack of critter activity, I wondered if I should walk an additional lap around Elizabeth Park, then return here. I opted to wait – it was Sunday after all so I embraced the expression “where’s the house on fire” … just slow down and relax!
Finally the black squirrel returned and scoped out the additional treats. He looked at me, then at the feast that awaited him. “Well, dig in kid” I told him.
He gave the offerings the usual sniff test …
… but tortilla chips were not his first choice – perhaps they were boring without a side of salsa or guacamole?
Suddenly the Jay came back for an encore performance of “How to Enjoy a Peanut” and taunting the squirrel just a little. Once again the black squirrel watched this wily bird’s scamming methods, but he wisely decided not to tangle with this peanut-eating foe, after taking a closer look at the Jay’s pointy beak.
Instead, he wandered over to the other side of the memorial stone to check out the goodies from that vantage point.
Well, silly me … I was not thinking like a critter. My eyes could see chips all over and around the memorial stone, but my black furry friend’s nose quickly picked up the scent of peanuts. “Ah, peanuts – I’d love me some peanuts” is what he seemed to say as I watched his nose push aside the tortilla chips to grab a peanut and he began to munch happily. He must have been in his glory, since no other squirrels joined him for breakfast, nor did any birds.
This squirrel was in hog heaven!
So, hoping to salvage a few photos from this adventure, I took a slew of shots of Mr. Squirrel feasting on peanuts and seeds.
With no apparent prospect of more critters gathering ‘round, I finished up my walk and headed to the car and drove to the alpaca farm.
It seems peanuts rule, though I’m sure those tortilla chips didn’t go to waste and had a little salsa or guacamole been deposited near the memorial stone, I’m sure they’d have been a bigger draw – just sayin’.
A friend of mine recently posted this picture of a squirrel wearing a sombrero and serape. I knew I’d find an opportunity to use it and today, Cinco de Mayo, is perfect don’t you think?
Cinco de Mayo also gives me a chance to use this kinda kitschy photo of Yours Truly taken in Tijuana, Mexico four decades ago, in the Fall of 1980.
Hopefully a taco for Taco Tuesday is on today’s menu for you?!
[Photo courtesy of The Mind Circle]