Birds, bees, bunnies and buddies.

I know you’ve been clamoring for a post about Council Point Park, so here it is. Truth be told, it has been a little boring there. Sigh. Yes, I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. Since the Park opened back up following the month-long lockdown, my favorite nature nook is not the same.

The City grass cutters are behind in mowing and weed whacking at all the parks following the gargantuan task of taming overgrown grass and weeds when all 22 parks reopened on June 2nd. So, even donning my rose-colored glasses, I must say that right now the Park looks a little raggedy as well.

Do you think the peanut pals missed the human presence?

Perhaps all the feathered and furry critters got acclimated to a refuge sans humans? They likely enjoyed having the grounds to roam about freely without the need to dodge dogs (even though dog walking is discouraged via several signs that cite a City ordinance forbidding dogs on the premises). I wonder if the critters truly enjoyed that month devoid of bicyclists, joggers or stroller-pushin’ moms that usually waylay a quick trip across the walking loop for a bite of grass, a nibble of pinecone, or a quick paddle in the Creek?

But alas, even though the critters may view us humans as intruders, I am sure my feathered and furry buddies bemoaned the lack of peanuts.

There’s more. Fireworks had been going off nightly since before Memorial Day in our City. The fireworks extravaganza was just residents setting them off, not a public display and there were lots of spent fireworks and black powder from misfires in the Park’s parking lot nearly every morning, especially on the morning of the 5th of July. I feel badly as I am sure the noise terrified the critters who have their nests in the trees that line the path, just a stone’s throw from the parking lot.

Also factoring into less Park critter activity has been this horrible heat wave we have endured for nearly two weeks.

I’ve not been straying too far from home on weekends due to the intense heat, so I have spent more mornings than usual at Council Point Park. Michigan meteorologists recorded June as one of the sunniest in history and July boasts statistics of its own, as one of the hottest recorded, as a result of this continued heat wave. We had nine consecutive days of 90F (32C) or above. It was the second longest heat wave streak in history (the record was eleven in 1953). Whew! On the horizon is another streak of 90F (32C) plus days or higher.

So, I’ve collected these photos over the course of the last six weeks. Hopefully, the recent spikes of COVID-19 cases/deaths here in Michigan will not spell doom and gloom and a resulting shutdown of our City’s parks again, specifically this one, as I derive much joy in my daily jaunt there.

The bird is the word here in Michigan.

I heard a factoid recently that amazed me: there are over 450 bird species in Michigan. Clearly I am not venturing far enough from home on my nature treks, as I’m lucky to have seen 50 species of birds max since living here and these are the common backyard birds and waterfowl. That is why I said “Egad!” when I came upon that Great Egret recently.

The Cardinals remain elusive on the perimeter path and that makes me sad. Gone are those ambitious red birds scamming peanuts from the squirrels, or bopping along behind me hoping to get my attention. I was lucky to see a Jay and its young feasting on peanuts I left on the perimeter path. I watched them, capturing the image through my eyes only since the camera was tucked in its pouch as I was ready to leave and pulling it out might have startled them.

The male Red-Winged Blackbirds (like the one pictured above) are always quick to scam a peanut from the squirrels, or will hop from tree to tree to follow along my route. They are still pretty vocal, sometimes calling out as I pass by the marshy area or their favorite tree. Red-Winged Blackbirds tend to be the bullies at this venue.

The thistles are not ready for Goldfinch, nor Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies to visit – hopefully soon?!

Are my furry peanuts pals gettin’ squirrelly on me?

Even my squirrels have not been as ambitious or friendly at ground level – so, are you telling me that absence does NOT make the heart grow fonder? Well say it isn’t so! I expected them to come running over to greet me like we were long-lost friends, kind of like this.

Oh a few gave me a second glance, like Parker and Penelope …

But, for the most part, these looks they gave me during the first week or two made me wonder if they were angry at my absence on the walking loop, or they just plain forgot who I was. Take a look at this collection of perturbed furry faces.

As to this squirrelly group, unbelievably, they are already socking away peanuts. In 2019 we had an uncharacteristically chilly week in August. Suddenly, it was as if the brain gears clicked in those cute-and-furry heads and the squirrels divvied up their peanut pile, saving a few peanuts to enjoy now, yet they began digging holes and burying the rest all over the Park. I noted that unusual behavior in several blog posts that said “okay, I get that confusion when the weather has a Fallish feel but really?” Last year our meteorologists predicted a brutal Winter – it was quite the opposite, so go figure.

But here we go again. Both before and after our 4th of July weekend, as steamy and sultry as it has been, once again, the squirrels studied their pile of peanuts, then buried most of them and when that task was finished, only then would they enjoy the few peanuts they had set aside. I find that interesting. Are they rationing in case the humans who feed them daily go MIA once again, or, do they know something about the upcoming Winter that the learned climatologists and local weather folks have not yet divulged?

Here’s a couple of the peanut-hiding squirrels …

… and one who crammed two peanuts into his mouth to hurry along the nut-gathering process. 🙂

As mentioned (and whined about), we have had wicked hot weather recently. Now, one could say I am fickle as I’m no fan of Winter, but this relentless heat is not my cup of tea, and the squirrels neither judging from their lethargic looks you see here.

Bunnies always make me smile.

I enjoy seeing the bunnies in the ‘hood or the Park. The fact that I don’t have any munchable plants means not many bunnies are congregating in my backyard, but they do like nibbling the clover out front. Back in the day, the bunnies demolished my Bleeding Heart plants two years in a row, but thankfully the cute critters have yet to tackle the Twist-and-Shout Hydrangeas and the rose bushes are deemed “unmunchable” since the prickly thorns keep them at bay. The heat did not deter the bunnies from making the rounds on the Park grounds to enjoy white and purple clover. I’ll bet they are hot in their fur coats.

If the bunnies are deep into a patch of clover, they barely budge, although they are on guard for a sudden move on my part. I talk softly or click my tongue to assure them the big human looming over them means no harm. Are they scared of me? I have nothing to offer, and I’ve taken baby carrots or some leftover salad treats for them in the past, but they left it there and nibbled on grass instead, so I stopped toting it along.

I can’t resist a smile as a tiny bunny believes he/she is hiding from me, but unbeknownst to this furry creature, those pretty pink ears rising high above the grass and shot with the sun’s rays are like a beacon, giving it away.

The waterfowl are MIA.

Harry the Heron has been missing from my morning trek since May 1st, the last day I walked at the Park before it went into lockdown. Where did Harry go? Occasionally, I hear a Great Blue Heron flying down the narrow passage, shrieking in that shrill noise herons make, but he never alights on the cement landing, nor does he perch in a tree across the Creek.

I know the ducks and geese are gone due to the annual molting process wherein they lose their flight feathers and must remain on the ground until they grow back. For now, they are in a larger venue, a safe haven where they may still access the water and land for food, but can easily escape to water on foot if a land predator is nearby. The waterfowl cannot do that at Council Point Park as the Ecorse Creek won’t accommodate all of them, especially now that they have offspring. Besides, the Park sprays with a grape concentrate which the geese find distasteful and that prompts them to move along to other venues. Despite the goose poop that litters the walkway, in my opinion the geese and ducks help create the ambiance here.

Feelin’ hot, hot, hot!

I’ve seen the turtles basking in the sun on a fallen tree many mornings. They line up in a neat row by seniority, i.e. the biggest turtles at the front of the queue and the smaller, younger ones in the very back. The big log where they sunbathe is behind some bushes so I can’t get a good photo of them, but they also sit on the cement landing and that’s where I got these two photos and I wanted to say: “just askin’ … did you pack a good sunscreen for Ol’ Sol’s rays? Oops – it looks like you’re already lookin’ a little leathery.”

Here is one turtle sunbathing and its buddy freaked out when it saw me and plopped right into the water – if you look closely, you can see it in the murky water. (Fraidy cat – I wasn’t going to nab you to make turtle soup for goodness sake!)

The sparrows perch at the Pavilion hoping for handouts … they wait a long time unfortunately because if you offer up a few seeds, the squirrels glom onto them (just like at your birdfeeder at home) and the sparrows are left watching the squirrels doing what they do best (after acting cute) … scamming birdseed. This sparrow wished this water fountain was a birdbath – even if it could turn the fountain handle, it would not help much as the fountain has not been turned on for years.

The wildflowers are scarce yet.

I saw this Tiger Lily growing out in the middle of the Creek bank.

The thistles are not too tall yet and have not been visited by any Goldfinch while I’ve been on the path, but I hope to get some shots soon.

The Milkweed is similarly “gettin’ there” and a woman occasionally comes to pluck leaves for her Monarch caterpillars. It is their only source of food. They feed themselves silly on it, until they are big and fat and form a cocoon (pupa) and emerge as beautiful Monarch butterflies. That’s not happening for a little while yet.

The bees are buzzing about enjoying the nectar on these beautiful blooms.

So now you’re caught up on the doin’s at the Park, from soup to nuts …

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
This entry was posted in nature, walk, walking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Birds, bees, bunnies and buddies.

  1. Sandra J says:

    So many great photos today, where do I begin. The squirrels take the cake today. The one with his head in the ground, and the one laying on the tree branch. Looking at you, like he is thinking; Where have you been?, 🙂 I was smiling through the whole post. Great post Linda. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this post Sandra. The squirrels do have their poses and antics which make me smile. I really do not “get” why they are hiding peanuts already. It happened again this morning. I am convinced they are not hiding them for Winter, but more in case the walkers with peanuts disappear again. Maybe they are savvy about a resurgence? The squirrel lounging around looks like a thought bubble should say “Hey Linda – do you mind hand feeding me those peanuts up here instead of just throwing them on the path? I’m comfy, it’s stinkin’ hot and it’s shady up here in my tree.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Eliza says:

    I love the second to last squirrel picture best. On the branch looking at the camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun photos as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for catching us up on the news of the park. Your photos are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda I do love those squirrel pictures of him relaxing up a tree, so cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michael says:

    At least its open again… just lower your Standards youll be fine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those poor critters! I know I can’t take this heat and I don’t have fur and I do have A/C! I’m sure they will start coming around again once it’s cooler. Love your pictures Linda (as always!).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………………you gave a very good “state of the union”…………………story about one of the 22 parks in the area……………………………..I’ll bet its about the same at every park……………………….we have harry the Heron’s brother who comes every morning for breakfast at our pond……………………and then leaves for the day…………………….I enjoyed the close-ups of the squirrels and bunnies…………………………..every morning the red-wing black birds circle my head when i pass by their nest in the tall grasses by 1-75………………………………we have just a Duck Pond lately by our apartments………………………….the geese(Mr & Mrs Meany) haven’t been coming back………………………..but i know they will soon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ann Marie – I saw a heron, perhaps Harry’s kin, at Huroc Park yesterday. The first time I was there and he/she was fishing in the churning water. It was incredible to watch him fishing – he got two fish. The grass has now been cut so it looks loads better than it did. I wonder where your geese go while their flight feathers are growing in? The squirrels were stretched out in the grass the other day on their stomachs … I didn’t get any pictures as I had put the camera away as I hadn’t seen any squirrels – the pair came to life after seeing the peanut bag, but I know that they are lethargic in that intense heat. I wish there was a way to give them water – the Creek water was green but looked better as it cooled down over the weekend. Glad you liked the “state of the union” Ann Marie.

      Like

  9. Prior... says:

    Hi Linda – fun post
    And a top photo odor me was the goldfinch in the branch – partly because the blue and white sky stood out Among the colorful photos –
    But it also allowed the bird to pop so well

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ruthsoaper says:

    We went for about three weeks without cutting grass because it was so dry. The grass was hardly growing but of course the weeds continued to grow and it did look a bit raggedy. Since the rain we had last Wed and Friday the grass began to grow and I was able to get the mowing done over the weekend. Perhaps the now that we have had rain you will also see more wild flowers.
    Actually rabbits do eat rose bushes. We have wild rose bushes bordered by large rocks. The rabbits will climb up on the rocks and eat the branches off the bushes. They leave their droppings behind so I can tell they were there (otherwise I would probably think it was deer).
    Your observation of the squirrels burying their nuts already is curious.
    Have a great week Linda and stay cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Hi Ruth – yes, those torrential rains three days in a row (for us anyway) got the grass growing again. Otherwise I think we’d be in near drought conditions after all that hot weather.

      Well, I learned something new today – here I thought the roses never got munched on as rabbits were afraid of getting thorns in their mouth … that’s amazing.

      Yes, I don’t know what to make of the squirrels burying their peanuts Ruth. I could understand last year because we had about ten days of cold weather, but all this heat – it has to be the absence of humans at the Park for that month. You have a great week too Ruth.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Joni says:

    Thanks for the tour Linda! I wonder if those squirrels have short memories…..did at least Parker recognize you? And who is Penelope – his girlfriend?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re welcome Joni. I have read up on squirrels for different behaviors I saw during the years while walking at the Park and they do remember people. They don’t run to every person, just people who interact with them, even talking and not necessarily feeding them. Yes, Parker did recognize me, but I’ve not seen a lot of him. I did a post awhile ago, kind of a goofy post where I had photos of two squirrels kind of hanging out with one another, chasing one another up/down a tree and used it for Sweetest Day – Parker writing about his sweetie Penelope. If no one remembers that post, people likely think I lost my mind. 🙂 I don’t think you read this post Joni – I knew it was for Sweetest Day in October. I figured it was when your mom was ill and you stayed at her house sans internet, but in this post, you checked in and said your computer was having problems and you were behind. But here was where I introduced Penelope into the “mix”: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2019/10/19/happy-sweetest-day/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Yes, I did miss it……it was cute! Glad to hear Parker has found his true love!

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I thought you might have missed it Joni – I knew when you were staying with your mom and no internet that you told me you were just going to have to skip what you missed and go on from there, but I forgot about your computer problems … when it rains it pours and just a few days away from Reader gets out of control. I find that every Monday since I took your advice and posted in the week, not on weekends. That has freed up extra time for me on weekends but then there are photos to go thru, stuff inside/outside (not always successful) and longer walks. But come Monday, I am a few days behind in Reader and don’t catch up til mid-week. This week I am still behind and already it’s Thursday. I had only intended to do a post on Monday and Thursday as you suggested but then I got into the Wordless Wednesday feature. I actually have so many photos, I can continue to do WW at least through the end of Summer. I still have the Henry and Clara Ford Estate photos to make a post from … I have not looked at them in a year. Maybe this Winter – they are closed due to COVID-19.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Now that it’s summer I don’t see too many people posting on weekends anyway, so it’s a good system. Enjoy your weekends!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, thank you for suggesting it Joni.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. J P says:

    I wish I could share your enthusiasm for geese. They have become a terrible (and aggressive) nuisance in my area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Well I have to say I like them in the parks where they are in their element, but I would not want them in my neighborhood as they wander about in some of the neighborhoods that are near shorelines and are problematic in those venues. So, I’m with you with that – they are fractious and messy too. But in the Park, that’s fine – they share our territory.

      Now I like squirrels, but have had problems with them in the yard in the past. In the Summertime they buried peanuts in my potted plants and baskets and dug holes in the garden unearthing annuals or seedlings. If you feed them, you have to commit to do it every day as you will be dealing with the begging on an every day/every-time-they-see-you basis. I am more indulgent because I no longer have pets, so have adopted the squirrel, but they chewed on my telephone wires and I had no phone for 24 hours. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Laurie says:

    Fireworks are still going off almost nightly here too. Ugh! I am glad poor Benji doesn’t have to put up with that. They scared him.

    I am sure your furry and feathered pals missed their peanut lady! Look at your little Parker’s eyes! I am sure the 2 of you will have a rapprochement. It may take a few extra treats.

    450 bird species in MI? I bet some of them are probably only there during migration. A birding friend and I used to see if we could count 100 different bird species in 1 day. That was challenging and fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I don’t get the fireworks still going on now Laurie. It will go through Labor Day and gradually stop ’til New Year’s Eve.

      Yes, Parker remains my biggest fan, but I’ve even not seen him as often since we returned from having the Park shut down for that month.

      That makes sense that some bird species must just migrate through here, especially the raptors in their special migrating patterns (like a portion of Lake Erie Metropark). That you could find 100 species of birds in a single day is amazing. The woman photographer I follow on Twitter shows closeups of birds I’ve never even heard the name of, let alone seen. This is in a big metropark in another county however.

      Like

  14. I’m thankful to say we haven’t had many repeat days of fireworks in the neighborhood near us. You’re right – I bet that scares the park animals! Your photos and words flow so well together, your post made me smile. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      They are still shooting them off in the neighborhood, but not as much as mid-May through 4th of July. These were very large fireworks – I’d say even professional grade in my opinion. Thank you Shelley – glad you enjoyed this post. I felt a post about my favorite nature nook was in order after being back there for almost six weeks. I was there yesterday and got a ton of fun shots for upcoming posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a waste of $ shooting off so many fireworks for so long.
        Yes, I always enjoy your posts (even if I’m slow to get here to read them!). Yay – glad you captured more photos too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I agree Shelley – every single night and still during the week for fireworks, though not as much. I have more Heritage Park photos this week – lots of flowers and went to the Community Gardens (veggies mostly). Last weekend I went to two new parks and walked 7 miles that day – it makes up for the really hot weekend days or rainy weekend days. Walking my socks off as I think about the Winter when I can’t always do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s just plain crazy! I’m glad to read you’re getting lots of walking in. It’s raining here again today so I’ll be skipping the walk, not feeling the love for the treadmill just yet. We’ll see! Keep walking and smiling and taking photos!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        We have a couple of coolish days, then back to hot weather again – I’m making the most of every day I can walk as all too soon the snow and ice will be back (not for a while I hope).

        Liked by 1 person

  15. bekitschig says:

    Oh thank you so much for the squirells! Even a black one, excite!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Jeanine – I really like squirrels a lot – I don’t have any pets so I cater to and spoil the squirrels in the Park where I walk everyday. I must have 300 posts all about squirrels. I have a favorite squirrel named Parker who comes to visit me all the time at the Park – he is a character. We didn’t always have black squirrels, just the last 15-20 years or so. When I lived in Canada, we only had black squirrels and when we moved to the States, we thought the brown Fox squirrels were huge next to the petite black squirrels! Here is a photo of Parker eating a heart-shaped cookie:
      https://lindaschaubblog.net/2020/02/14/its-valentines-day/

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Your photos are, indeed, very good! I like the question you pose, do the birds and creatures miss us? I love bird watching and have felt that we all share our neck of the woods so I think the creatures get used to us and when we are gone they probably notice. Squirrels in particular have sat right on me to get snacks!
    Anyways, very nice thoughts, I love this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Michele; I appreciate you saying that. I love walking in this Park because it is just the right size to get a good walk in and there is just enough “wildlife” that you come away feeling like you’ve been on a hike in the woods, when you’ve just stepped away from the residential area surrounding the Park. I felt extremely bad to be gone from the Park an entire month during lockdown. It has not been the same since I returned and it cannot be that the birds and/or squirrels abandoned their longstanding nests … I think a good part of them are going to other neighborhoods seeking food they were not getting from the walkers and returning home at night to their nests. Perhaps that is a good option for them or people are putting out more birdseed now.
      I have some photos of cute baby Blue Jays grabbing peanuts from the path that I photographed last week, but still missing are the cardinals that sometimes followed at my heels … I miss them and wonder what happened? I have adopted the squirrels and birds at the Park since I don’t have any pets of my own. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • I love Linda’s photos too, Michele. They are so full of life and reality. I like the squirrels and the birds, oh, and the lakes of course. I am happy to see you here in this blog… hahaha, kindred spirits, huh? 😁👍🐓💥

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Wow – both of you will make my head swell! If you look back at my blog when I began in 2013, it was one paragraph long and a one-word title and no pictures. 🙂 Then I started using some stock photos and my own photos were very small. I am so glad that my friend persuaded me to get another camera with more zoom in it – it made me want to take more photos – in fact too many now!!!

        Like

  17. Sounds like your furry friends still liked a good photo shoot. 😁 Glad Parker gave you a second glance. I have been wondering how he is. Hope Harry reappears soon ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Zena – The Park has just not been the same since that month-long shutdown and I just discussed with another walker who feeds the squirrels about the absence of the squirrels. He said they are likely enjoying berries and tree nuts (though we have no trees with nuts and very few berries at the Park). So yesterday, I didn’t go to a bigger park as rain was predicted and Parker came to meet me at the car in the parking lot when I got out to begin my walk. So, I got some cute up-close pictures of him near by shoes, while I was still sitting in the car, even with my knees in the picture. Harry has been gone for months and the geese and ducks won’t be back until the first week of September –
      it is not quite the same, but soon enough the squirrels will be begging on the trail as they know the snow will be flyin’ soon.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s