Here in Southeast Michigan the sun was not around much in March, nor April and the first week of May was nothing special either. I’m convinced the Groundhog doomed us, not only for the six-week period after his February 2nd prediction, but for early Spring. Grrr to that miserable rodent.
So finally, on Palm Sunday, April 10th, we had a glorious day, full of sunshine and even climbing to 60 degrees F (16 C) – yay! I aimed to savor the daylight hours. Even though I was bundled up to be comfy from the shoreline breezes, there still was a nip in the air, which made me think, despite the weather folks’ declaration that we had FINALLY turned a corner, that was not so.
The past few Spring/Summer seasons have often had crummy weather weekends resulting in rain-soaked shoreline parks. If that is the case this year, I’ll be marking my miles at Council Point Park where it never floods. I’ll probably resurrect my occasional “Seize the Day” impromptu jaunts to larger parks on favorable weather weekdays before my work day begins.
The first stop of Palm Sunday was at Council Point Park where I walked one mile to visit and feed the critters, then set out to give the car a 30-mile roundtrip run to Lake Erie Metropark. It was my first visit here this year, though I’ve had the 2022 pass since mid-November. In Spring 2021 I saw the beaver chews, a goose sitting high up on a nest in the marsh and her mate chasing off an interloping goose, all interesting to see and the images made for a picturesque post. Though the landscape was still dormant and blah, I was hopeful for a handful of interesting items to photograph today.
Lake Erie Metropark is located at the western shoreline of the Detroit River and Lake Erie and encompasses 1,607 acres and three miles of shoreline. Because this venue is so large, I generally alternate which part of the park I will visit. For example, I could begin at the Marshlands Museum, visit Luc the resident eagle, then trek down to the boat launch and along the Cherry Island Trail, or, clear on the other side of the park, an alternate trek would be to walk the rocky shoreline of Cove Point and visit the marina. Since we had a lot of rain that past week I decided on the latter.
Ambling along Cove Point.
The Cove Point stroll is always picturesque with Windsor’s wind farm just across the water and most times you’ll see a freighter or two on the horizon. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron or Great Egret in one of the many marshy areas. The last time I walked along Cove Point was July when I saw the fawn and its mom, which made that walk my favorite of 2021, if not all time.
The Park was not ready for primetime yet.
Park benches looked a bit forlorn and the picnic tables were still leaning against one another, like dominoes waiting to fall and, unless you had an intense hankering for a hotdog or burger on the grill, you would not want to be cooking them while standing in ankle-deep water. The hot coals cans were empty, all waiting for a sign of life to descend upon the park, i.e. warmer weather and more sunshine (yes, bring it on please).
Along the rocky shoreline …
I recently published a post recapping a trip here on November 20th and this Metropark looked the same as last Fall, with long-dormant Phragmites and/or Cattails that had burst out of their brown sheaths.
The water was sparkling , but choppy and waves were racing up and over the boulders. I decided that the bright-blue and cloudless sky more than made up for the blah landscape.
Well, what do you know – a paddle of Canvasback Ducks were bobbing around in the water. This would be my third sighting in 2022 and the solo male Canvasback Duck never returned to Council Point Park after a week of very windy weather – perhaps he joined his brethren down at the Detroit River.
This fallen log was new since I was last here – bet it made quite the splash when it fell. That was Mother Nature’s doing as the beavers do their handiwork in more secluded parts of the marsh.
The ever-present Trenton Channel Power Plant stacks are seen in any Downriver shoreline stroll photos. This partially decommissioned plant is scheduled to close completely this year as energy provider DTE converts to natural gas and renewable energy plants. I wonder if they’ll remove those red-and-white-striped stacks that mar the view of the Detroit River shoreline parks?
A Swallow scoped out future housing. Should I tell him/her that volunteers built and erected many nesting boxes along Cove Point to entice BLUEBIRDS? Swallows prefer nests in rafters, like in the covered bridge at Heritage Park, or below wooden outlooks. He alighted just long enough for me to snap its picture, then it left again, so perhaps it read my mind.
I had my first freighter sighting of 2022.
Flooding has been a problem at this park since I began visiting here in 2018 and today was no different. Three instances where water crept onto the paved pathway had me dodging those puddles by veering onto the spongy grass, which was a bit muddy. This was one of those puddles.
Someone had thoughtfully packed a low area with pea gravel and, as my heavy-soled walking shoes crunched over it, I hoped it would keep my feet dry for the duration of the trek, as walking any distance in vinyl boots is not a great option.
Frustrated after traversing the third large puddle, I finally cut across the soggy grounds, interrupting the grazing geese and sleeping gulls and walked on the dry vehicle road instead.
I walked the shoreline until I reached a dead end at this Huron River Watershed sign.
The marina was eerily quiet with slips awaiting sailboats and pleasure crafts once boating season begins in earnest.
I decided to visit the overlook for a view of the Canada skyline. The high-powered telescope reminds me a little of fellow blogger Peggy’s hubby’s robot/shop vac!
Some bicyclists hopped off their bikes, took a pause for swigs of water, snacks and a slew of selfies.
An angler was dressed for the chilly temps. I didn’t see a big bucket for her booty of fish, so perhaps she was tossing them back into the water.
Signs are everywhere.
Some are pretty obvious, but as best I can tell, if you pay attention, you’ll escape unscathed.
Alas, once again I was peeping for Peepers.
Every Spring I search for Spring Peepers a/k/a Chorus Frogs. I’ve never been successful seeing or hearing them. They are cute frogs, about the size of a thumbnail, that sing their heart out in mating season, which for them is early Spring.
Well, I don’t know if the Peepers got lucky, but I got lucky while walking back from the marina and, in the muck and mire of this water-filled ditch, those Peepers made themselves known.
It was a delightful sound and though I stood there peering into the water for the longest time, I never peeped at a single Peeper. I took a few more shots of their mini bog/living quarters, but I suspect they submerged or ducked once they saw this looming human.
Not a spent leaf stirred, nor did the algae surface wiggle, but they were there. Next year perhaps they’ll put in an appearance but this year no pics unfortunately.
I neared the parking lot and saw my car, but it was such a gorgeous day, I wasn’t ready to drive home – not just yet. I headed toward the overlook – you can see it in the distance in the header image and here.
These shadows and reflections show you how sunny it was …
I took a blissful pause to enjoy a cacophony of sounds … those Peepers, a nearby Killdeer, a trilling Red-winged Blackbird and several screeching Seagulls
I was hopeful more waterfowl would be here. Well, there was one Great Blue Heron who saw me and freaked and if I spoke fluent heron, I’m sure it said “I was enjoying breakfast until YOU came along!”
Enroute to the parking lot I heard more Peepers at this area and traipsed through the high, dead grass to scope ‘em out, belatedly remembering it wasn’t too smart to do this in lieu of the abundance of ticks this year.
As I headed to the car, it was more of a shuffle, than the spring in my step that I had many hours before; I thought of my outside chores ahead. I arrived home and scurried out to do yardwork/Spring clean-up, before I changed my mind.