Saturday, June 5th was designated as “National Trails Day” so of course I had to do my part to celebrate! I walked six miles on my two morning meanders, first at Lake Erie Metropark, then later that morning at Humbug Marsh. Today’s post will focus on Lake Erie Metropark.
It was the first time back to this venue since early Spring when I saw the beautiful reflections on the water, the Canada goose sitting on the nest and the gander defending her honor. You may recall I showed you some photos of a few trees felled by destructive beavers. So I hoped this walk would be as enjoyable and picturesque as last time.
In early June, all of Michigan was classified as being in moderate drought. That classification was wiped out shortly thereafter as a result of multiple, all-day rains, then later in the month, some torrential downpours so severe that flash flooding in homes and expressways occurred. Unbelievably, over one thousand vehicles were left abandoned and bobbing around on the interstate after 6.8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. You most likely saw those “once-in-500-years-rain event” photos of the Detroit area that made the national news.
A brief marsh meander, then onto the trails.
It was very muggy and humid so I left early in the morning. I take the same route each time I visit this park. I began my walk near the boathouse where I stopped to say “hi” and visit with Luc, the resident eagle.
Then I strolled over to the boathouse, just a few yards away.
The boathouse sits on a wooden overlook in the marsh. I mused that the boathouse was the same putrid green color as the murky marsh, which was filled with pond lilies, the invasive aquatic plant Frogbit and slime … lots of slime. Ugh.
Everything was very still as I gazed out across the murky-looking marsh, trying to decide if the scene warranted a photo or not, when suddenly I heard a booming voice. I nearly flew out of my skin to discover a huge bullfrog, immersed in Frogbit right beneath the overlook. Now THAT warranted taking a photo or two or ten and I’ll feature Mr. Bullfrog in my upcoming Wordless Wednesday post.
Photo-wise, pickin’s were kind of slim at the marsh.
A Great Blue Heron waded, intermittently watching the water intently for its breakfast.
That heron was spooked by the camera clicks, or maybe just skittish from seeing me and it soon took off, landed, then regally posed on an abandoned Canada goose nest.
A Mama mallard raced through the thick and sludgy-looking marsh, her ducklings paddling as fast as they could to keep up with her. There were a lot of twists and turns as she led the procession and I worried she might lose one or two as they traversed the murky water.
The fuzz was flying off the Poplar trees – it was everywhere. In this photo, the fuzz had glommed onto a sticky spider web. It covered the marsh in some areas.
There was nothing more to see, so I left and headed for the trail, fingers crossed that the Cherry Island Trail was not flooded.
All you need is one good rain, notwithstanding the aforementioned drought-like conditions and that trail is awash in mud and pools of water spilling onto the trail which runs parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline.
Once enroute to the boat launch area, I was all eyes and ears.
Fellow walker Arnie, from Council Point Park, told me he was riding his bike on the trail earlier in the week and saw a doe, a Bald Eagle and a large contingent of Great Egrets, so I was hopeful.
I stepped onto the overlook where there was more Poplar fuzz.
The marsh was dried up and the reeds, deprived of water, looked like straw. The scene looked like it might in late Winter/early Spring.
As I walked along, the only sign of life were many Red-Winged Blackbirds flitting from stalk to stalk, perching precariously on the dry reeds. This one flew to a tree, so I quickly got a photo.
Down at the boat launch area, there were no seagulls or fishermen – not even a boat. I wouldn’t think the heat would be the reason for the no-show, but it was strange nonetheless.
Poplar fuzz had accumulated along the grassy area making it look like snow.
A dragonfly zoomed by and landed at my feet, so I took that as a sign it wanted its picture taken.
I saw a young man on a mountain bike headed toward the Cherry Island Trail and just as I neared that trail, he quickly turned around and came back. I said “just as I suspected” and he said “yep, not going to risk getting my tires stuck in that muck and mire.” So much for that … the rain we’d had days before messed up the trail.
I returned on the same route I took and was disappointed that I had no deer sightings and where were those Egrets Arnie mentioned? Oh yes, a turtle was hanging out on a log.
A little marsh madness.
I walked along the trail, still looking around, when suddenly there was a huge splash in the marsh to my right. I hurried over and decided that the ripples in the water meant a critter, rather than a carp, was beneath the water, so I decided to stay and check it out. Something dark passed under the water’s surface. Hmm.
Lots of bubbles and splashes, but nothing emerged.
After twenty minutes, I figured Nessie wasn’t there, nor was any critter in the mood to give me a photo op, so I moved on. A couple of fishermen came around the bend and one, noting the camera, asked if I got any great shots and I said “not really, but a doe or a fawn would make my day.” The fisherman smiled and said “well, you just missed a doe, not a minute ago – it crossed right in front of us!”
I walked back to the car, checked the pedometer and had walked almost four miles. I thought about driving across the park to Cove Point, but decided to head to Humbug Marsh instead. That second walk on National Trails Day will be next Monday’s post.