This is the eighth and final 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.
This morning meander was taken on June 24th at picturesque Heritage Park, in Taylor, Michigan. We had enjoyed three days in a row of coolish temps, so, as you know from prior posts, I escaped for excursions at larger parks to enjoy a walk with temps that were not humid and/or oppressive. I knew I would enjoy this trip as rain was in the forecast, but, as I headed out that morning, I had no idea just how much I’d savor this particular excursion, because the following day, Friday, June 25th, was the beginning of a siege of torrential rain, severe weather and/or storms, heat and humidity that has lasted into October. This weird and wacky weather pattern has never been the norm for Southeast Michigan and I despair how climate change has wreaked havoc on what used to be four distinct seasons and a temperate Summer, but for those few Dog Days of August. As I write this post, while reflecting on the weather this past week, unbelievably, we soared to nearly 80 F (26C) most days, with icky-sticky humidity and dew points. Sure, I got my steps in as I continue to chase my year-end walking goal, but it felt more like August than October.
I was up at the crack of dawn and out the door shortly thereafter.
While at Heritage Park on June 24th, there were the usual serene scenes, perfect for picture-taking. I’m sure by now you are familiar with the sights around this historical village that surrounds Coan Lake from prior posts.
I was enjoying the serenity of the still morning, the reflections on the water and was surprised to discover I had the venue all to myself … well, me and the many mallards that were milling about. Usually, there are a few dog walkers or folks jogging or walking, but maybe this was because it was a weekday?
But suddenly there were clouds on the horizon ….
Though there was no rumble of thunder, I had the sensation of the sunlight being turned off, just like that … almost like Mother Nature had turned off a light switch. I looked up to see a dark and brooding cloud overhead. Yikes! It looked like it would pour any minute and I had parked far away to get extra steps in. So, should I assume it was going to pour, thus I needed to scurry back to the car – there was really nowhere to duck for cover here in the village. But, I opted to stay and was glad I did because that pesky dark cloud stayed parked overhead the rest of the time I was at this venue and did not yield a single raindrop. But it sure looked ominous the entire time.
For my perseverance, I got a treasure trove of Mama and duckling shots.
In years past, many times I’ve gone to Heritage Park hoping to get shots of fuzzy ducklings. This was certainly my year for doing so, as I got close to and photographed several of these cutie pies. So, when I saw this family of older ducklings, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were the same babies I’d oohed and aahed over about six weeks before during the Fish & Loaves Virtual 5K event.
The plumage on these ducklings looked just about as dark as the brooding clouds overhead. I love how they were snuggled up with their siblings.
The inquisitive ducklings watched my every move and Mama monitored me as well, in between standing guard and having a brief cat nap, er … duck nap, while debating whether she should take her babies to the water away from the big, bad stranger who loomed nearby. Notice that she always has one eye on me, ever watchful of my movements.
This Mallard Mama steered her tiny ducklings to the edge of Coan Lake, so obviously I was perceived as a threat to her little family.
Happily I managed to duck the rain …
I left Heritage Park a little earlier than planned, but that was okay too as I had a treasure trove of photos to create this blog post and also this week’s Wordless Wednesday post that will feature some of the male Mallards I encountered that morning. Those adult males were molting and had quite an unusual look to their plumage than you would usually see.
The day after this delightful, just ducky walk, Southeast Michigan got what was termed a “once-in-500-years-rain event” when 6.8 inches (17 centimeters) of rain fell in 24 hours, leaving countless homes with severe flood damage and a whopping 1,000 vehicles abandoned and bobbing around on the local freeways, a sight that made the national news. In early June Michigan HAD been classified as being in moderate drought, but after this weather event and subsequent flash floods and torrential rains, that classification was wiped out, leaving us with the buggiest, muggiest Summer that I have ever experienced.