Over Fourth of July weekend, I had a heart-to-heart chat with myself after spending an entire rainy day wading through my computer’s photo folder. I had amassed a ton of photos taken on weekends and daily jaunts in May and June. My two, most-trusted meteorologists predicted a steamy and stormy remainder of the Summer. I knew I had plenty of photos for blog posts to carry me through mid-September, when hopefully the weather would settle down. So, I decided for July and August, I’d walk only at Council Point Park, bulking up extra steps in the time not spent driving to larger park venues. An added bonus would be I’d be home earlier to hunker down for some much-needed housekeeping chores.
Well, it sounded good in my mind, and, of course, I always had my digital compact camera strapped to my fanny pack just in case a photo opportunity and blog post happened my way. One such
incident intrusion fun and meaningful event marring my good intentions was the duckling rescue, which, albeit on a work day, took my focus away from working in the house. Why? Because it rained on a Saturday morning, I didn’t walk and it was way more fun to go through my photos, write the post and share it here than do housework. So much for good intentions.
Similarly, on the morning of July 31st, I put blinders on to my household chores and headed to Lake Erie Metropark instead. Quite honestly, I felt I needed the break to clear my head, from not only a busy week at work, but also a volatile and worrisome weather week, which began with severe weather the previous Saturday. Four tornadoes hit Michigan on the 24th, none in my proximity, but I sat on pins and needles as the severe weather ravaged as it headed southeast at 35 miles per hour. My weather alarm went off four times that evening, each with a prediction of impending doom. Luckily, I remained unscathed, but just a handful of days later, a similar weather scenario erupted, with a forecast of tornadic or derecho conditions, hail and flooding, all to arrive at 3:00 a.m. Thursday. I went to bed with the flashlight under my pillow and much trepidation, fully expecting to be dashing to the basement in the wee hours of Thursday morning after another weather alert was sounded. But, nothing happened … in the entire state of Michigan, despite all the severe weather warnings! All weather stations and their meteorologists proclaimed we had dodged a bullet and blamed quirky weather models for the alarmist prediction. Whew!
So, when Saturday, July 31st dawned clear and bright, not a chance of bad weather to mar the day, I gratefully headed out. The car needed a long run and I needed to be sprung from my self-imposed commitments, so I sallied forth. My sunglasses served as blinders to dust bunnies and disorganization.
It was time to roam at Lake Erie Metropark.
There are 13 Metroparks in Michigan; this is my favorite and it is a 30-mile roundtrip from my house. There are nearly three miles of nature trails in this 1,607-acre park. I generally write about the northeast portion of this venue, since I enjoy hiking through its wooded areas, across the canal overlooks, alongside the marshes and visiting the small boat launch site, where migrating raptors pass over every September through November.
But, ever-mindful of the overabundance of ticks, the presence of the sometimes-deadly Asian Tiger Mosquito in my county, plus possible flooded trails due to the 20 inches of rain received in the past six weeks, I opted to change my routine and roam the length of Cove Point, a picturesque path that runs parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline. It would give me a chance to peek at the Water Lotus beds to see if they were near peak yet. Last year I made multiple trips to this venue before finally seeing blooms.
So, I spent three hours strolling along the Cove Point paved path, while enjoying the cool breeze off Lake Erie. Happily, there were no crowds and I came home with a treasure trove of photos.
As to the Water Lotus beds, some flowers were in bloom, but not quite peak yet. I’ll include those photos for Wordless Wednesday as this post is already picture laden.
The wooden overlook where I had a bird’s eye view of the lotus beds was swarming with Barn Swallows. They swooped and dived, skimming over the green surface of this lagoon which is already covered with algae bloom as you see in the below photos, taken from opposite sides of the platform.
The natural beauty of Cove Point’s boulders.
Huge boulders line the entire length of this route, all the way to the south end of the park where the paved pathway ends at the Marina.
Kindly volunteers have built and erected wooden Bluebird nesting boxes along this route. This is one of them.
I saw very few wildflowers, but I liked this one growing between the boulders.
As I neared the Marina, I could see the tall masts of the sailboats through the trees.
I made a quick detour to the observation deck, to see the endless vista of Lake Erie and have a glimpse of Ontario. Very few pleasure boats were out and I saw no freighters on the horizon.
As I entered the Marina, I saw the boat used for interpretive cruises. I wondered what happened to E/V Clinton, an identical-looking boat I rode on the two interpretive cruises I’ve taken in the past. Was it simply renamed? A Google search yielded no results.
All was still in the harbor area which surprised me … a simply gorgeous day, and not one person readying their boats for a day on the water? Here are a few more scenes from the Marina.
Time to head back …
The sun was bright and it was getting warmish. I had a long journey back to the car, mostly without shade. I turned around and in the marsh I saw this fallen tree, long bleached by the sun’s rays and went to get a closer look. Was it left there for aesthetic purposes?
And, then my focus turned to a deer, standing in murky marsh water up to its knees.
We made eye contact and I wanted its picture, because, as longtime followers of this blog know, deer and owls are elusive to me and I really would like to get some photos of each. I didn’t move a muscle, yet a split second later, the deer bolted from the water and disappeared into a thin line of bushes along the Marina’s parking lot. Suddenly, a head and a large pair of ears appeared in a small opening and we scoped one another out through cover of the bushes.
We were maybe 20 feet apart, but I daren’t get any closer for fear of spooking this beautiful creature. I decided I would wait as long as it took. But the wait was short-lived, as a car pulled up, a door opened, someone coughed, then slammed the door shut. My deer buddy bolted, but with no clear path through the bushes, it returned to the marsh water, bounding through the muck and mire with loud splashes, then it returned to land once again down the road, but too far away for me to try and catch up.
As I rounded the bend, I glanced over at the marsh, hoping for one more glimpse of my deer buddy, but no such luck.
This time I was heading back to the car for sure.
Following this deer-sighting debacle, I was now ready to leave, retracing my route … and then some.
Along the way, I heard a heron overhead, screeching at no one in particular. It landed on this rocky platform …
… and wasted no time scoping out the water hopeful to soon be scooping out a fish.
I was surprised to see Poplar tree leaves littering the pathway. The weatherman said the trees will turn color and drop earlier this year due to drought conditions in the Spring, then an abundance of rain in the Summer. He added that the trees are stressed just like humans.
I finally reached the car, but decided to get a photo of the Cove Point road sign, so I walked another quarter of a mile to the main road to get that shot.
I stopped at the fishing overlook to see if any waterfowl were there – nothing! I wondered aloud “where were the egrets and swans?”
Weary and warmish, I reached the car. It was time to head home. I may have pushed the housework aside, but a slew of weeds awaited me and there was no convenient excuse for pulling them on such a beautiful day. I knew appearances matter outside the house, even if I was forgiving to my transgressions inside.
As I rolled out of the parking space and onto the main road, I saw a flash of brown in the bushes … yes, those same bushes I had just passed ten minutes before. Whenever I’ve seen deer in clear view, I was driving and pulling over on the side of the road within the park is discouraged, so I was forced to move along. But, there was a parking lot near the fishing site, so I was all in. I swear that I parked, hopped out of the car and pulled the camera out of the pouch in a heartbeat.
Mama deer loped off across the field, into the marsh and out of my sight. But her fawn had its own agenda. It posed while gracefully grazing and alternatively staring at me with those big brown eyes. I cooed softly and clicked my tongue, while calling it a host of enDEERments. Lucky for me, the fawn was content to stay in the limelight, literally, with lots of lime-green Water Lotuses in the marsh behind it. I couldn’t wait to share those photos and they were the subject of last week’s Wordless Wednesday.
Here is one more photo …
I was ecstatic and I know I floated home. 🙂