I headed to Grosse Ile on Sunday, May 3rd knowing it would most likely be the last trek on the Island this year, since the Grosse Ile free bridge was slated to close on May 6th and not re-open until sometime in December. There is a toll bridge to access the Island, but it has been congested with those who live or work there beating a path back and forth, so I’ll be patient and visit other venues besides Grosse Ile until 2021.
With that mindset, Meridian Woods was the first spot on the day’s agenda, later to be capped off with a trip to Elizabeth Park.
Bob, a fellow walker at Council Point Park, lives on Grosse Ile and last year, after showing me photos of deer families congregating in the wooded areas and trotting down the main drag near his home, I wanted to see those deer for myself, so he gave me some tips and directions. Bob mentioned some Nature Open Spaces venues to visit on the Island and I’d visited all but this particular one last year.
I was especially keen on visiting this natural woodsy area since many folks on the Michigan marsh or park sites I follow on social media, were commenting on the return of the “Spring Peepers” – while Spring Peepers may sound like a type of local songbird, they are tiny frogs which make a peeping noise and when there are a lot of them, it sounds like a chorus of birds. So, how cool is that? I found this very interesting video which shows one of these tiny frogs, with a not-so-tiny voice. This is one of the better nature videos I’ve viewed on YouTube; you can click here to view it.
So off to Meridian Woods I went to look for frogs.
One thing I’ve discovered about Grosse Ile, is that there are not too many places to park, especially if you want to walk along the Detroit River’s edge. There is no boardwalk, it is all private property, with many stately homes along East River Road. The only solution is to park in one of the four school parking lots and just walk from there.
So, I pulled into Meridian Elementary School and crossed over to the east side of Meridian Road to visit this locale, formerly known as Manchester Woods.
So, where do I go first … the trail or the across the little bridge? I chose the trail.
There was an information station which showed the history of this 153-acre wooded area and trail and a couple of warnings like poison ivy – yikes! I put that idea out of my head since there was the promise of frogs also listed on that same info sheet. 🙂
The trail was short, just like the other Grosse Ile Open Space nature nooks I’ve visited, so no worries that I’d stray too far from the main trail and become lost in the depths of the forest. At any given time, I don’t think I’d gone a mile from Meridian Street where I entered the trail.
It was clear and dry, then suddenly I hit a muddy patch, but some kindly soul had made provisions for that icky mud, by putting some sticks to cross over the muddy spots.
Once past that makeshift bridge, in this part of the woods, there were bogs and water had spilled over near the trail I was walking on.
There were many felled trees and while some logs were half submerged, other logs were glistening with a heavy covering of moss. The sun was filtering through the trees making that moss looked iridescent.
Still other trees were in various stages of decay like this one.
I continued along the Old Path/Creek Bed and it was very quiet; no humans were around, which I appreciated as we were about seven weeks into this COVID-19 crisis, but also because I wanted to hear those singing frogs. I had researched a little about the Spring Peepers and learned they are most active in the morning and evening and their song carries up to two and one-half miles.
As I walked along, the occasional woodpecker was tapping, or songbird warbling. I did not have peanuts with me to dole out, but the squirrels were occupied chattering away while they chased one another, their nails clicking on the bark of the still-standing trees, so I doubted they would have come over and begged.
A bit farther into the bog area, I heard them, the faint song interrupting the solitude of my walk, but that was okay. I studied the bog, looking for movement within and strained to hear where the sounds originated, knowing that even if I had brought my boots along, there was no way I was crossing through that bog to investigate – who knows if snakes lived in there, no … just no.
So I had to be content to hear the music only.
Finally, I walked back to Meridian Road and as the chorus grew fainter, I decided to investigate what was beyond the small wooden bridge – perhaps more frogs that I could see?
Well, the wooden walkway merely crossed over a small stream. The water was very clear, so I would have had a good view to glimpse any of those tiny frogs, but there were none, just the glimmer of sun hitting last Fall’s leaves that had settled onto the surface of the water.
Overhead were tender leaves, just unfurling and making their Spring debut. The forest was not entirely leafed out yet allowing for peeks at the sky above.
I made the short jaunt back to the car and headed for Elizabeth Park. I had planned to go down to the River in Wyandotte afterward, but it was very hot that day, so I tabled that idea.
Next year, I’ll find those Spring Peepers and hear their song … do I need to make a “Frog Photo Bucket List for 2021” perhaps?