Summer is zipping by much too quickly – I can’t believe August is nearly over!
Wednesday I celebrated my 1,500th post since I began blogging on February 11, 2013. That is a lot of words I’ve written! Many of those posts have been the Wordless Wednesday feature I’ve been doing since March 11th this year. I really enjoy doing Wordless Wednesday, as I have amassed a ton of photos in 2020 and sometimes a narrative isn’t needed to accompany them.
I decided that the topic for post #1,501 just HAD to be about Council Point Park. I’m sure if I took the time to go through this blog, that two/thirds of the posts revolve around my favorite nature nook. Hmm – I wonder how many posts are about squirrels?
This is a roundup of photos taken at Council Point Park in August.
The ambiance is almost back to pre-shutdown mode on May 1st, but something is definitely amiss. Council Point Park is experiencing the “new normal” just like the rest of us. I don’t know most of the people I pass on the trail these days. There are many bicyclists and joggers now, even a few rollerbladers. Of course there was Mike, a Park fixture for a long time, who passed away back in February. His presence is sorely missed and not just by the squirrels. There were walkers whom I passed on the trail on an everyday basis for years and they never returned to this Park once the weather began to warm up in April. I’m not all that sure if their decision is COVID-19 related. I don’t dwell on this “new normal” a lot because I usually walk alone anyway, but their absence from a place they enjoyed is a puzzle to me. You know how I stewed and fretted during the one-month shutdown. I had to return as this place has become a big part of my day.
I chitchat with fellow walkers, husband and wife Arnie and Carol, from time to time. I told Arnie I am curious as to why the squirrels began to hide their peanuts once the Park re-opened on June 2nd. Nut-gathering usually begins in late August/early September. Were our furry friends afraid the walkers who feed them would go missing once again? Do they have a sixth sense that a wicked Winter is on the horizon? I have duly noted the squirrels’ actions and would love a naturalist to tell me the answer. I have noticed many trends the last seven years I’ve walked at this Park. Like the squirrels are always on the perimeter path – they are ever-present. Not any more … so, is it too hot, are they lazy, or are they foraging for natural food? Some days there are a passel of them; the next day one or none. Arnie seems to think the latter reason – they are foraging for natural food. There are humans who pick the wild mulberries, so all that is left are the soft green pine cones and wormy apples …
… or so I thought.
Mystery squirrel treats – are they better than peanuts?
I was walking on the path one day when a squirrel was moving about noisily up in a nearby tree. I put some peanuts on my palm and asked him if he was coming down to get them. He never even stole a glance at me, but continued rustling around in the leaves. Feeling a bit rebuffed, I noted that he had something green and large clenched in his teeth. He must not have been one of the “regulars” because when I moved in for a better look, he freaked out and dropped a large object onto the ground.
I looked at it thinking “so what do we have here?” It was the size and color of a lime and when I startled this squirrel, he dropped not one, but two, of these green items to the ground.
He was too scared to come down and retrieve them and cowered above in the treetop while watching me. He made the strange distress call that squirrels make sometimes. “Was I stressing him out?” I assured him I was not going to eat them but he should come down and get them before someone swiped them. He remained in the tree and I took a picture first so I could Google reverse image … or in the alternative ask you what these green objects are?
I stepped back and watched as the squirrel slowly made his/her descent to ground level, but in backing up, I saw something in my peripheral vision. Well, look at this. A huge wasp nest with lots of wasps darting in and out and buzzing around. Well you never saw anyone move as fast as me as I jumped back out of the way …
… but not before Your Roving Reporter took a few pictures of course.
I took my shots, but instead of wisely getting the heck out of Dodge, I stayed, fascinated with that wasp nest. I had never seen one before, but finally I tore myself away to remain unscathed by wasp bites. A few days later, a Facebook friend of mine posted a photo of the exact same type of paper nest hanging off the side of her house. I had some Great Black Wasps last year and they tunneled into a small opening above the screen door. It was a dry and comfy place to live until a smidgeon of caulking took care of that opening and it was “home sweet home” no more. The relatives hung around for a few days, then left to pester someone else.
What’s hopping and bopping along the trail these days?
The baby bunnies are fattening up. They are adorable and not afraid of humans as they munch contentedly on clover or grass. They are very photogenic, especially when the sun’s rays make their pink ears translucent. This baby posed nicely, only three or four feet away from the perimeter path.
The larger bunnies, however, are more wary and nibble on grass with one eye always toward the humans.
There are also “buns” on the bunny trail.
Did you see the squirrel? He stopped in his tracks as she rolled along. 🙂
“Exercise” is the word of the day as a contingent of cross-country runners has been showing up almost daily, huffing and puffing as they leave me in the dust.
We have a resident fisherman (and it’s not Harry who is still at large). I do hope he knows to throw what he caught back into the water.
A painted rock made me smile, but I left it there.
Flowers, weeds and leaves.
I’m disappointed that I have seen just one Goldfinch this year … I heard it singing away, but it was too far away at the top of a tree to get a photo of it. I’d love to see one of these vibrant birds sitting on a tall thistle like I’ve seen and taken photos of in the past.
The thistles are plentiful this year.
Did you know there are 20 different types of native thistle in the U.S.? I only know a few of them.
I follow a blogger from Wild Birds Unlimited on Twitter. A recent post was about thistles and showed Canada Thistle a/k/a Creeping Thistle. Well I identified with that photo and description right away as I remember we called them “Santa Clauses” when I was growing up. We made wishes on them, then blew them into the air to send them on their way. I see them at the Park every year. Each fluffy piece is attached to a small seed – look at this plant and you know lots more thistles will appear next year. I sure am glad I’m not weeding these in the garden.
Speaking of weeds, unbelievably I’m still seeing yellow dandelions this late in the Summer at the Park. There they are defiantly standing tall, willing the bunnies to nibble on them, but these days the bunnies prefer clover or grass, so they hop right past them. Since the Park was closed all of May, I missed taking photos of the sea of yellow, then spent dandelions.
Dandelions are not the only yellow item in the grass … the Poplar leaves are already littering the path.
I’ve seen a few flowers, but not many.
The teasels are plentiful as well.
The Milkweed leaves have been chomped on, likely by Monarch caterpillars, but I often bend down to see if I find one of those caterpillars, but no luck. A woman used to gather Milkweed leaves at this plant and around the Park to feed her hungry Monarch caterpillars at home, but I’ve not seen her this year. These Milkweeds and the others have not flowered yet.
What have we here?
Recently I did a Wordless Wednesday post about a train with extensive graffiti on it. Graffiti finds itself all over the Park too, from the markings you saw next to where the angler was aiming for a fish (above) to the twisted tree, as you see below. The squirrel seems a bit befuddled does he not? Nature versus man ain’t always pretty.
Well, life goes on … the hot weather continues and the sparrow still sits at the water fountain hoping by some miracle, the water will come gushing forth …
… while the turtle balances preciously on the edge of the cement ledge, content to languish in the Summer sun.
As the days get shorter and we creep toward Fall and Winter, I’ll savor each walk as it sets the tone for the day and provides endless fodder for this forum.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Nature is loved by what is best in us.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson