Ramblin’ ‘round Heritage Park.

What can I say? I keep returning to Heritage Park for weekend jaunts, as it is a quick-and-easy drive, plus there are always images to pique my interest and to be captured by the camera lens. And this trek was no different. In fact, in my three hours spent relaxing at Coan Lake, meandering through the historical portion of Heritage Park, getting my steps on the walking path and visiting the massive garden areas afterward, I amassed a ton of photos. Later I divvied them up and will do separate posts in the coming weeks on the Botanical Gardens, Community Gardens and a mess ‘o Mallards and Canada geese found in and around Coan Lake. Right now I am stacked up with photos from various weekend jaunts at larger woodsy parks and water venues.

In the meantime, here is what I saw in the early morn at Taylor, Michigan’s Heritage Park, often referred to as the “Jewel of the City” and understandably so.

This was my first visit to Heritage Park since I participated in my virtual 5K walk for the local food pantry known as Fish & Loaves on Saturday, May 9th. You can read about that 5K walk here if you missed it. I was even wearing my new 5K swag … and yes, I left the finishing medal at home. 🙂

When you have your ducks in a row

… you always arrive early at Heritage Park, because the Mallards are waking up and beginning their morning ritual, not unlike that of humans. You stretch and contemplate your day ahead; the Mallards lift up one wing where their head was tucked while sleeping, then raise one eyelid, stretch those short orange legs and wide-webbed feet, then it’s time to eat. (BTW – there is no snooze button that I know of and yes they have a little “bed head” just like you, or most of us.) The Mallards waddle to the edge of Coan Lake …

… and then plop into the water, where they will often dive deep, feathery butts in the air, to nibble on aquatic plants or catch a fish.

This big pond is stocked with fish for catch-and-release fishing and for the waterfowls’ benefit as well. Unlike the geese, who have been strutting around grazing on grass, long before their waterfowl friends woke up, ducks don’t usually eat grass, unless some kindly soul has scattered corn onto it and stray grass ends up in their beak while they are hurriedly scarfing up the corn. There is a gentleman who visits Coan Lake with a huge bag of cracked corn every morning . Just like at other parks, the ducks recognize their benefactor (or perhaps that large bag of corn), then scramble out of the water as soon as they see the whites of his eyes.

Now that eating is dispensed with, it’s time for morning ablutions, the equivalent of you or me hopping into the shower.

Watching the waterfowl here always starts my day off right.

It is molting time right now, and the waterfowl at this park spend an inordinate amount of time preening and picking their feathers. There were feathers all over the grounds, large ones and fluffy down too. The ducks are busy pulling out old feathers and then the new feathers that are growing in make them feel itchy and fidgety. I have had pet birds and know about the molting process. It was very hard on my budgies and canaries – they were listless and lethargic, not talking or singing, for about six to eight weeks, as they lost all their feathers in succession from head to tail. They’d jump from perch to perch and a flurry of feathers would drift from their bodies and land onto food or water dishes – at the height of molting it was like watching a mini pillow fight going on in the cage as the feathers flew furiously.

Check out these Mallards, especially the drake (male), whose usually vibrant plumage is mottled due to the molting process and this guy is missing his tail feathers as well – poor boy. All body feathers eventually will be replaced and soon he and other drakes will enter “eclipse phase” when all their plumage will resemble their mates. In fact, at a glance you can’t tell them apart, except for the beak color (bright yellow versus brown).

There is no set hatch date for ducklings and goslings. In 2019, at Council Point Park we had four families of geese, each with goslings, that arrived about a week apart. So there were lots of cute-and-fuzzy babies stomping around the Park grounds in the month of May and June. It was no different here at Heritage Park. Proud parents with their offspring close by were all over Coan Lake.

I mused that after beating a path to various water venues in search of ducklings every Spring, that this year, I have been inundated with glimpses of ducklings. At least something good has come out of the year 2020!

Here are a few ducklings to ooh and aah over.

The fountains on either side of Coan Lake were not turned on and this female Mallard relaxed, like Queen of the Hill, on this perch while preening and enjoying the morning sun.

Woe would be this little lady when the sprinkler system was turned on and water gushed up! Not only would it likely be chilly, but I wondered if the force of the spray would knock her from that perch? It gushes mightily as you see below when it was turned on later.

Taking a gander at the geese.

Heritage Park is large, but all the waterfowl congregate around Coan Lake. There are not that many families of geese and I looked for the parents who sadly had just two offspring, (as opposed to the usual six or seven or more), that I featured in an earlier post this year. I didn’t find them, but there were these proud parents and their trio of youngsters.

After spending a peaceful hour at the waterfront, it was time to cross the covered bridge over Coan Lake and into the historic village.

I was the only person on that bridge, so as I ambled across I paused halfway to gaze up at the fairly high rafters and scope out any Barn Swallows or nests filled with babies. Here is a close-up of the underside of the covered bridge.

In the past I’ve been fortunate to see the nests brimming with youngsters. The nests are fashioned out of mud and puttied onto the bridge rafters by that same mud. The former pictures weren’t that close up though. Well, it was my lucky day! Swallows are always buzzing around the bridge, capturing and eating insects as they swoop and dive. They rarely pause but a few minutes to rest on the seawall or the big boulders near the bridge, but this time of year, you’ll see them detouring to the rafters and that’s to take food to their young. Have a look at the hungry baby Barn Swallows awaiting their morning meal. (Talk about expectant faces and no, I didn’t bring you any bugs – sorry guys!)

It was a lucrative trip across the covered bridge … photo-wise that is. I saw these two grumpy-looking turtles basking in the morning sun. One must’ve had a dirt bath and the other was spanking clean.

I crossed into the historical village area and took a few photos which regular readers will recognize as the Little Red Schoolhouse, Fitz Caboose and boxcar in the background, old Water Mill and the Gazebo.

I was not ready to go home yet and spent another few hours checking out the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Goodwill Gardens. The former was ablaze in color with perennials and annuals and the latter, despite getting a slow start due to COVID-19 and the garden area being closed down, was brimming with goodness to be donated at local food banks, as well as gardeners who lease private plots to tend to flowers and veggies for their own personal use. I will spotlight these two portions of my Heritage Park trek in upcoming posts.

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 Ramblin’ ‘round Heritage Park.

  1. Eliza says:

    I love the fountain. And those babies….. they’re heaven!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra J says:

    What a wonderful array of photos today. I love the ducklings. And the little ones poking their heads out of the mud nest. So so cute. Isn’t it something how the males in bird world change their brilliant colors to not so brilliant this time of year. Their florescent sheen’s are all gone, until next spring. Wonderful post Linda. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Sandra – glad you enjoyed the post and photos. Heritage Park is such a pretty park and there is always something to see. It is really amazing how the male mallards’ plumage changes. I was lucky to find this male mallard with so many feathers missing to show just how significant the molting is. I took an interpretive two-hour cruise at Lake Erie Metropark a couple of years ago. We went past a large group of mallards – they all looked to be juveniles or females. The guide said “hmm, I wonder why there are so many brown-colored ducks in one spot here – anyone know?” No one did, so he explained about this “eclipse phase” … it is easier to see this molting here at Coan Lake since there are no bushes, etc. obstructing our view of the waterfowl. I have some pictures at Elizabeth Park of the geese and their feather issues to use down the road. I decided next week will be the rest of this walk – two posts about the gardens and WW for the butterflies at Memorial Park. Then the Parkapalooza from last Sunday, then the other feather failures. Whew! Have to take the long treks and get out and about while the sun shines, even if it’s hot.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sandra J says:

        You know, I really love spring time, but there are a lot of things going on in the summer months also. With all the new flowers blooming and I am so glad you have all these photos of the ducks. I missed seeing them this year around here. It just ads to the joy of summer putting all these photos together. Even when it is this hot out. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – our Springtime was not so enjoyable due to the intrusion of the Coronavirus which tainted things. First I had reservations about going to Council Point Park, then decided it was okay, then no camera there, decided it was okay, then no Park. What a Springtime, then flurries two mornings in the first week of May. Summer has been good, but a little hotter than I like – worried to think what August will bring. You are out and about even earlier than me … this morning it is a tad cooler (70 with a real feel of 76 but the humidity is high).

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sandra J says:

        Yes, humidity was fogging up my camera yesterday morning. I skipped the walk this morning. I will have to mow lawn today. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Is that because you are out so early and it is misty Sandra? I have never taken my camera, even the small one, out in fog, even though I admire pics taken in the mist or fog. I should use my old/first compact digital and go out. It is only sitting in a drawer, but it has 4X zoom only, but for a far away shot it would be okay I’d think. Now we have multiple storms on Sunday from early morning to late in the day and a heat index of 100 degrees both days. Any time outdoors will be brief!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        Yes, the humidity was really high after the sun came up. And I had moisture all over my camera so I had to quit, my bridge camera is not water resistant like the Nikon is. I had to dry it off when I got back in the car. I do have a cover for the camera for days like this but I did not bring it this time. I need to just leave it in the bag.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I hate the high humidity or high dew points days – you feel wiped out before you get home from the walk. It will be very hot this weekend – storms tomorrow, so today will be the day to get things done it seems (if the weather folks are correct). Have a good day Sandra.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        Yes, it is already hot outside. Have a good day also Linda.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’m like you and ready for Fall – I hate to say that since it is just a matter of time for snow and ice.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful photos, as usual.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Anne – I am glad you enjoyed the photos. It seems I never come home with under a 100 shots every time I visit this venue.

      Like

      • That is amazing. Editing must take you a long time. If I have two shots of the same scene, I flip back and forth to decide which to save. That would be painful on a large scale.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I sometimes wonder why I take so many shots to be honest Anne. But sometimes I take duplicates in case I moved. In the very beginning of my blog, I had no pictures, then one picture occasionally and often I used stock photos. I only started posting a lot of photos when I got this digital compact camera in 2015. It had 12X zoom and the one before had 4X. I will also agonize over similar pictures, or I will want to use two similar photos taken at different angles or one is close-up, one far away. It takes me forever to go through photos to winnow them down. Thursday morning we had torrential rain for about five hours, so no walk at the park. It took me that long to go through last Sunday’s pics (four parks – two were first-time visits) … and now to write posts for those pics. Funny story: last year I went to Henry and Clara Ford’s Estate. It is a beautiful home which Henry Ford had built for his wife after he made all his $$ selling the horseless carriage. The Estate home is being renovated (probably in year 5 or 6 and not done yet) but you can visit the gardens which are lavish and take up many acres. I did that last year and took a zillion photos. Every time I think about going through all those photos, divvying them up, writing a post, it seems like such a formidable task, I put it aside. I intended to do it over the Winter – didn’t happen as our weather was so nice. The guard on the grounds told me to come back in the Springtime to see the lilacs that are in bloom and there are many of them. Well it’s been closed since March due to the pandemic – maybe this Winter I’ll get the photos done or wait til Spring 2021 to see those lilacs.

        Like

      • You have a job ahead of you! Waiting until 2021 would be easier, but I’ll bet you will go through those photos and come up with some amazing posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I hope – I will have to break them down into two, maybe three as I took so many. There is a rose garden the size of a football field and fountains in the middle – roses on either side and it was in bloom. That was not the only rose garden. For example, there are people working on the gardens too to maximize their beauty and from that website I found this tidbit, “Clara Bryant Ford, the wife of Henry Ford for 59 years, had a passion and love for roses. Fair Lane, the 1,300 acre Michigan estate of the Fords had more than 350 varieties of roses and 10,000 rose plants in their five acre garden.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Always love shots of babies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie says:

    I enjoyed seeing your race swag, Linda. I think it was a good choice to let your medal at home. Too bad there is never a good time (after the post-race festivities are over) to wear them.

    My grandson Henry loves to feed the mallards at our local park. There are so many ducks, they kind of swarm him when he begins feeding them. It was a little intimidating when he was younger, but he’s used to it now.

    You had a very productive day at the park! I loved seeing the photos of the baby barn swallows and the turtles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked it Laurie – my only virtual race this year. Initially I was going to wait for the swag to do the post, but they said they would not be mailed out until July 1st, so decided to forgo it in the original post. Last year’s and this year’s are a jersey type of material and very soft – maybe the kind you say you like.

      The geese swarmed me once at Council Point Park – I took bread (didn’t know it was harmful to them at that time – causes angel wing). Fed some geese and emptied the bag and then a contingent of Canada Geese came storming over for more bread. I showed them the empty bag which meant nothing to them and they started charging over to me. I ducked into a group of women walkers after making an apology and the geese lost me – whew! It was a little scary.

      I liked those baby barn swallows with their feathery tufts too!

      Like

  6. Rebecca says:

    Such a nice variety of photos! How lucky you are to have such a beautiful place to walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………………….I enjoyed your refresher narrative about Heritage Park…………………….it is one of my favorite parks too……………………………..I always learn something new when i read one of your blogs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      There is always something to see at this Park – no wonder you always liked taking your students here Ann Marie. Glad you learn something new with the blog; was it about the eclipse phase for the mallards? I took that interpretive cruise at Lake Erie Metropark in August 2018 and learned that tidbit. I enjoyed those little two-hour cruises, as did you – I think you’ve been on several of them. I have a few more pictures from this walk of some mallards that were gathered around the edge of Coan Lake. The post was so long already, I decided to leave it out. Next week I’ll have posts about the Botanical Gardens and also the Community Gardens/Good Will Garden. It was a long walk on a hot and humid day.

      Like

  8. So nice to see all the critters Linda. I love the nest that is a work of art!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked them Diane. Yes, that nest was very study and just like it was puttied into that corner. The baby Barn Swallows were safe, warm and dry up there, but hungry while waiting for the parents to return with bugs. The parents did not come to feed them while I was there unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Michael says:

    Gorgeous! They should be employing U as their photographer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Michael! It is a very picturesque place and I sure was lucky to see all the young ones that day. They have a guy who runs a Facebook page called “Heritage Park Photo of the Day” – he goes to that park every day and looks for something to take a photo of. They have a lot of events here for charity, music, sports, especially in Summer. I have sent a couple of blog posts to him when I wrote about the park and he posted them, including the day I did the virtual race, because he is on the Board of Directors for the food pantry.

      Like

  10. Joni says:

    Linda, those baby swallow pics are priceless! Yes, you should be a photographer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni! I was lucky because I looked up in the rafters and saw nests before, but they were always too far away to get a close-up. I love those tufts of feathers on the side of their heads. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing the delightful stroll and wonderful photos! And the lesson on the feathers – I learned something new! I wish we had parks like that near where I live. I haven’t been by our park since we opened back up. I should go one of these days to see what the critters are up to.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pam Lazos says:

    The water there looks great, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ruthsoaper says:

    Nice photos of the baby swallows Linda. We have seen more swallows this year than in past years. I don’t know where they nest though – at least it is not our barn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ruth – they sure were cute with those feather tufts on their head! I was glad I thought to look up in the rafters for babies. You are lucky they didn’t built a nest in your barn – that nest was big and looked heavy from all that mud. You wouldn’t want to wreak your roof, especially since you hang all your garlic in the rafters.

      Liked by 1 person

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