[This post continues my spotlight on the 44-acre Refuge Gateway of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, located on the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan.]
Today’s post is only about Humbug Marsh. If you missed Part I from Monday, you can find it by clicking here. Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post was a Great Blue Heron from this venue.
The Humbug Marsh portion of the Trenton Refuge Gateway is a 410-acre parcel of land and contains the last mile of natural shoreline along the U.S. mainland portion of the Detroit River. While one mile may not seem like a big deal, the other 97% of the Detroit shoreline has been disturbed or destroyed.
Fall Trip #2 to this venue was on Halloween morning, a glorious Fall Saturday and the leaves were still vibrant enough to ooh and aah over. I was early, so the crowds were minimal and the photo ops were plentiful.
I meandered along the shoreline and edge of the Old Growth Forest. The colors were at their peak at Humbug Island. This photo was taken from one of the observation decks.
Multiple observation decks along the edge of the forest seemed like the perfect way to while away a few hours and rest after hiking, if you’re so inclined. This deck with its colorful Adirondack chairs welcomed you to sit a spell.
I liked this outlook which jutted into the River. There was a great view of the Detroit River and Humbug Island, with or without using a telescope. This ramp/deck, like the others, was handicapped accessible and one of the telescopes was positioned lower for wheelchair users.
This unique-looking observation deck was covered in branches and twigs to blend into the woodsy area. What a great opportunity to check out and/or photograph the more than 17 species of migrating raptors that will stop by here on their migration route. This is the same migration route that has folks flocking to Lake Erie Metropark’s boat launch area in late September. Also, there is a pair of nesting Eagles at Humbug Island.
But, with all these overlooks along the shoreline enticing you to stop and gaze at the natural beauty, you must not overlook the three miles of hiking trails throughout the Old Growth Forest.
Old Growth Forest.
The 300-year-old Old Growth Forest is where I spent the bulk of my time while at Humbug Marsh on this trip. Since my first trip to this locale six days before, I read additional comments posted by hikers about their impressions at this locale. There was a deer sighting. Oh, that would be exciting to see. I also wondered if someone (maybe even me) might spot a Mink or an Eastern Fox Snake, the most-popular inhabitants of this forest. A mink would have been preferable to a snake unless I was far enough away.
As I walked along the designated Orange and Green Trails, I searched for the Shagbark Hickory trees that people had also commented on. I researched a little beforehand to ensure I could identify such a tree – it wasn’t difficult when you see the bark. I learned Shagbark Hickories could grow to 100 feet and live for 350 years. There were many tall, old Oak trees in the forest as well.
The trails wend through the forest and/or down to the water.
I wandered down to the water but saw no waterfowl, so headed back onto the trail, which was raised in some places, rustic in others.
One of the trails led to a Vernal pond with an information stand. Vernal ponds usually form after snow runoff and Springtime rain and are teeming with aquatic wildlife, including the tiny Western Chorus Frogs a/k/a Spring Peepers. Last year just before Grosse Ile closed the free bridge, I went over to the Island to a Vernal pool at Meridian Woods in search of Spring Peepers, but heard and saw none. P.S. I did return here to this Vernal pond on the first full day of Spring looking for Spring Peepers, but there were none. It was chilly out – maybe that’s why, or, they slept in, having lost an hour’s sleep.
Fall Trip #3 was an impromptu visit on December 6th after I declared “Bah humbug for writing Christmas cards – I’m going to Humbug Marsh instead!” We’d had a minor snowfall earlier in the week and what a difference five weeks’ time made on the landscape. Everything was dull and the marsh area water and Vernal pond were frozen and littered with leaves and the trees were now bare.
There were dribs and drabs of snow as well. The fishing pier had lost its allure with not a single soul, except me. I must say that on my multiple trips to this venue, critters were scarce.
I’m looking forward to visiting again in warmer weather because, from what I’ve read, it will be a treasure trove of natural beauty, including wildflowers like Swamp Roses which are a type of Hibiscus. Humbug Marsh was a peaceful venue and this particular spot struck me as very serene.