Elizabeth Park is one of my favorite weekend haunts. For the nature lover, there’s a little bit of everything to see and enjoy … perhaps a nice stroll along the boardwalk where you are sure to meet up with a paddling of ducks looking for a handful of corn, or a gaggle of geese will likely pick their way across your path. A nice collection of songbirds await your eyes and ears and if all these items don’t entice you, be assured the very tame, cute and spoiled squirrels are plentiful and will rush up to you as you step out of your car, ever-hopeful you have brought them goodies.
Today’s trek was the third of three treks taken on that December morn, beginning with an early morning “drop” at Council Point Park to leave treats for my feathered and furry buddies, then on to meander around Humbug Marsh at the new Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. (I have yet to compile the photos plus do a narrative from my three Fall forays to the Wildlife Refuge, so rather than making three separate posts, I’ll just pick my favorite shots from the three trips, so stay tuned.) I had those above-referenced two meanders under my belt before arriving at Elizabeth Park about 11:00 a.m.
A bird’s-eye view of waterfowl aplenty.
I parked near the canal, just past the vehicle bridge. As usual, the water was dotted with ducks, geese and seagulls. From the abundance of screeches, both in the water and overhead, the gulls were wound up about something. I walked back to the vehicle bridge I had just crossed over, to get a bird’s-eye view of the waterfowl in the canal and see what the fracas was about. While scoping out the situation, all of a sudden about a dozen seagulls swooped down from the sky and plunked themselves along the cement rail, not ten feet from me. In a flurry of feathers, most of the gulls then headed to the canal, except this pair. We eyeballed each other and after a few minutes these two inched closer to me, undeterred by the sound of the camera clicking away. They no doubt assumed I was “carrying” … food that is. I had nothing for them, save for some peanuts I brought for the collection of squirrels once they began begging.
So here’s how that seagull encounter looked. Be sure to note the second photo with one gull screeching and the other giving it the side eye.
Having taken at least twenty shots of the canal affray and my gull friends, I moved back onto the road that encircles the island. A handful of squirrels approached and stopped at my feet, politely sitting on haunches in begging stance, wearing that woeful “would you feed me please?” look. Yes, I couldn’t resist – neither could you.
If only all snow disappeared so quickly …
This particular walk was on the cusp of Winter. We had a little snow earlier in the week, but this morning was clear and bright and the only evidence now of snow at this venue was where the plow had shoved it over to the side of the road.
The sun was not strong enough to melt the dribs and drabs of snow nestled in the crisp leaves …
… nor the thin veil of ice on puddles along the way.
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.
As I meandered along, I could not help but notice that harvest time lingered at this venue. No, not any candy corn lights or inflatable turkeys or cornucopias, but instead, there were all sizes and shapes of pumpkins and other gourds, with almost nary a nibble on them – yet. Clearly, the local residents in this city had swapped their harvest décor for Christmas trimmings and brought their gourds over to the park for the critters to chow down on. The last time I stopped here at Elizabeth Park and drove through downtown Trenton to get here, I noticed the displays of pots of mums plus many pumpkins piled on hay bales adorning store fronts and street corners, so perhaps that accounted for some as well.
These are just a few of the many gourds I saw that day.
Boppin’ over the bridge and along the boardwalk.
Next, before I walked along the boardwalk, I stopped briefly to get a few shots of the peace and tranquility of the other side of the canal from my perch on the big bridge.
Only one other person was strolling, likely most others were Christmas shopping. I said “good morning” and the woman called out “you look so Christmassy in your red jacket!” I thanked her and smiled, then said “you and your dog have matching jackets!” I stopped to get this shot of them. The Grosse Ile Free Bridge is in the background. It is now closed due to construction an extra year due to added structural problems.
As I walked to the car, I had the road to myself, unlike last time when I had to wait to cross the street while the Canada Geese slowly sashayed across en masse at their usual speed (slow). I heard some geese honking and looked up to see a sloppy formation of geese coming in, aiming for the canal near where I had parked the car. I pleaded silently “please keep my car clean during your flyover guys – I don’t want to stop at the car wash today!”
As the geese approached the canal, they fell out of formation and splashed down mightily into the canal – what a beautiful sight to behold. The ducks scattered at the first kerplunk, but most of the seagulls refused to budge.
I took these few shots which look like a day at the beach, before heading to the car, 5½ miles walked according to the pedometer, in addition to a treasure trove of waterfowl pics on my camera card.