So far, Southeast Michigan’s Autumn weather has had a little something for everyone. Prior to this past Saturday, when we suddenly went straight from Summer-like bliss to brrrrr (completely bypassing brisk), we had enjoyed the warmest October on record; those weather records date back to 1874! Our local meteorologists quipped that maybe October should have the moniker of “Augtober” or “Octoaster” when we had fifteen days in a row above 70 F (21 C).
Due to the unusually warm temps, those same weather folks said leaves have been at least a week later changing color, but I think it’s more than a week, since most trees remain green in the neighborhoods I pass on my daily walk. That said, the leaves on one tree at Council Point Park turn colorful early and drop every year ahead of the others– so much for colorful leaf-peeping!
Sunday, October 17th was one of those primo Autumn days. I decided not to gamble on the weather staying great and risking rain or a gray and gloomy sky for my Halloween trick-or-treat-with-the-squirrels photo shoot, so I took a lot of photos that morning.
Today’s post is only about that particular Autumn amble and what I saw in the ‘hood and the Park.
Homeowners here generally begin hauling out the harvest décor once the school bells ring and/or there’s a definite chill in the air. This year, I suspect some of those plump pumpkins sitting atop hay bales the last six weeks will be mush once they are ready to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns. In a typical Autumn, as I walk through the neighborhoods, my heavy walking shoes crunch, crunch, crunch the crumpled leaves, but with scant leaves on the ground, the only noise I heard was the rustle of the cornstalks in the breeze when I passed.
The squirrels are as diligent as ever hiding their peanuts and other nut treasures they glean from the Black Walnut and Oak trees scattered throughout the Park. My furry friends are not plump yet, so there will be no fat-shaming of my little buddies in this post.
The appearance of hawks cruising overhead has cast a pall on the Park. I scan the sky constantly and continue to sequester the peanuts in places I deem safe, where a hawk won’t try to swoop down on a squirrel munching contentedly on a peanut. But I can’t keep my furry friends from streaking clear across the Park to bury that one peanut, thus becoming a target for these birds of prey. Sometimes I see the shadow of large wings flapping overhead. I had hoped the hawks might migrate as do the feathered predators that fly over Lake Erie Metropark in their annual migration September through November, but fellow walker Arnie said he saw a hawk grab a squirrel a few weeks ago. I hope I never see that happen.
I’d much rather see a flock of Canada Geese crossing the sky and descending onto a field. Their noisy honking always prompts me to look up and watch them and/or duck to avoid any unforeseen plops if they get too close overhead.
If there are no geese around, the Park is peaceful. On a quiet morning, I hear the tap, tap, tap of claws on the path as squirrels race over to grab a peanut, whether from Arnie who doles out peanuts in the shell, or Alene who offers up a sprinkle of cocktail peanuts and then there’s me, The Peanut Lady. On the path, I tuck them close to a bush or tree, but they’ll dash back onto the asphalt, then I hear the peanut shells fall as they dig in. The sly Blue Jays scam peanuts from the squirrels every day and routinely screech to their brethren to alert them to a “drop” – I enjoy interacting with them. I was disappointed in the absence of Cardinals, Chickadees or Woodpeckers this Summer and early Fall. An unexpected and quick visit from a pair of Mallards to scope out the Halloween goodies gave me the header image and a few photos as Mr. and Mrs. Duck, with expectant faces, climbed up the banks of the Ecorse Creek and onto the perimeter path, but the goodies were up high, so they beat a hasty retreat.
The grass has been covered in dew during this most-recent warm spell and I don’t think the smaller gray and black squirrels like getting completely soaking wet, so they hop through the tall grass arriving on the perimeter path sporting only wet paws and snouts. I tried to get these pogo-stick-type images, but they were too fast for me and the photos were way too blurry.
These are some photos I wanted to share from my October 17th Autumn amble – I hope you enjoy them. Meanwhile, I’ll keep on ambling and I’ll take a tally of my miles for my Wordless Wednesday post.