This is the second post in this limited series of excursions taken on early weekday mornings in the month of June. If you missed the reason I ventured out so early, you can read about it here.
It was Wednesday, June 23rd when I decided a trip to beautiful Elizabeth Park would be perfect on this sunny, even coolish, morning. The local weather folks’ forecast for torrential rains at week’s end meant the chances of returning to this venue anytime soon were slim to none. Sadly, those predictions were accurate and the torrential rains occurred on June 25th – June 26th. The metropolitan Detroit area had seven inches (17.78 centimeters) of rain in 24 hours. Over one thousand vehicles were left abandoned and bobbing around on the interstate in this “once-in-500-years-rain event” that made the national news.
While enjoying my morning meander, besides adding steps to my eventual year-end goal, I was also looking for photo ops of Mallard and Pekin ducks, perhaps a few Ring-Billed Seagull shenanigans and I was ever-hopeful for a sighting of a Mama Mute Swan with her cygnets riding on her back.
First … along the road that encircles Elizabeth Park.
I stopped at Birdie Nirvana, the name I coined for a small area where bird feeders and suet holders are hung on a memorial tree and/or shepherd hooks, plus peanuts or other treats are scattered on the memorial stone nearby during the colder seasons of the year. I have also done some peanut and sunflower seed scattering here, not usually in the Summer though. I dug in my pocket for some peanuts I had brought along and gave them to the sole squirrel that showed up. Here it is on the bench near the tree.
I peered in and noted no birds, nor bird babies were in residence in this cozy house.
It was too early for a picnic, so there was no trouble finding a seat here …
… the sky was silent too, with no swooping Seagulls, just this raptor gliding overhead.
As to seeing ducks … well, I was out of luck and it could be they were tucked away picking their feathers. Waterfowl molt in the Summer months leaving them unable to fly, listless and lethargic. But they generally hang out in or by the canal – not so this morning.
I got to the big bridge and climbed up the series of stairs. I was alone with a great view. It is crowded sometimes on weekends since this nearly century-old bridge is a picturesque venue for life events like weddings, proms or homecomings and it is a popular fishing spot as well. In viewing the photos, I was surprised at the water level line on the bridge, but we had been in moderate drought mode until early June, though we more than made up for that as June, then July brought torrential rainstorms, time after time.
As the saying goes, patience comes to those who wait and from the other side of the bridge, I saw many geese (as seen in the header image), plus I was rewarded with a view of a family of geese parading to the canal … (really, I hope it is two families, though I only saw two adults – yikes!)
These two young women had also made an early-morning escape to Elizabeth Park and passed beneath the bridge, clearly enjoying their morning paddle. I called out “that looks like fun!” They shouted back “it is – it’s a beautiful morning!”
Once on the boardwalk, I stopped to take pictures of these Morning Glories trailing on the iron fence.
Then I came face-to-face with the roly-poly resident groundhog which I first “met” last September. You might recall I quipped it was a prizewinner in the “Quarantine 15″ poundage category because, on that September morn, I learned from other boardwalk strollers that this groundhog gets lots of treats, especially on weekends.
Mr./Ms. Groundhog looked at me expectantly and I instantly lamented I had no treats on hand. *Note to self – next time take along a PB&J sandwich or some sweet treat this chubby critter might enjoy.
Next, I got the “side eye” and then the groundhog quickly popped into its hole.
I was content strolling the perimeter of the park, then along the boardwalk, often remarking about the gorgeous weather to other early-morning walkers, who were equally appreciative of the lack of “the muggies” and I stopped to take this picture of the interesting shadowplay of the tall boardwalk lamps and wrought iron railings on the cement steps.
Quickly the quiet bliss was interrupted by men’s voices and activity in the nearby marina where a tugboat named the George Gradel was docked. The activity was simultaneous with the smell of fumes from the tugboat’s funnel/smokestack and for each puff of smoke, I was glad that I was wearing a mask as dark smoke billowed in the air. Soon, just like others along the boardwalk, I stopped in my tracks, enthralled to watch this tugboat pull then push its barge, maneuvering effortlessly through the Detroit River. I took many photos of the operation, so that will be the topic of an upcoming post.