It was Saturday, the first day of Memorial Day weekend and chilly by late May standards, so I left the house wearing a light jacket. Because dark clouds were brooding, despite a predicted perfect day weather-wise, I wavered whether I should even make the 30-mile roundtrip drive to Lake Erie Metropark. I sure didn’t want to be several miles from the car and the sky opened up. I decided to take a chance.
Enroute to that park, the cloudy skies parted and a few rays of sunshine poked through, so I ditched the coat on the back seat and set out in short sleeves. Well that was a dumb move as the sun did a disappearing act several times, so it was chilly and yes, what they tell you about getting sunburned on a cloudy day is true, because my forearms and forehead were sporting tinges of bright pink before the day was done.
I spent hours and hours at Lake Erie Metropark, starting first at Cove Point and walking the entire shoreline to the marina and back, then heading to the wooden overlook where I got an up-close view of Barn Swallows perched on a dead tree, seemingly oblivious to my presence.
After returning to the car, I rested for a few minutes, then drove clear across the park to the boathouse area to visit Luc, the resident Bald Eagle and to navigate the Cherry Island Trail without sloshing through mud or water – that was a plus. That portion of my day at Lake Erie Metropark is picture laden and will be the topic of next week’s posts.
Cove Point was picturesque as usual.
I began at the shoreline where the largest Water Lotus bed is located. Some green leaves were evident, but nothing to take photos of yet. By Fourth of July weekend, the leaves would have grown to the size of a dinner plate, then by Labor Day the leaves will be gargantuan and have morphed into a sea of green with beautiful white Water Lotuses reaching skyward.
Almost immediately I saw clouds on the horizon. As mentioned above, I trusted the wisdom of the weather folks who predicted a stellar day, so I hoped that it would not rain on my parade.
I was the only person meandering along the paved pathway. I didn’t even call out “good morning” to this fellow, whose gaze was intent on the shoreline as he pondered life alongside his faithful friend.
I reached the marina, which I assumed would be teeming with sailors eager to get out on the water and was surprised to find the marina was rather desolate. I grabbed a few shots of the boats.
There was a sailboat on the horizon, no masts up – the “Sloop John B” perhaps?
I saw no sign of life in the nearby marsh either. In the past, I have seen deer swimming in the murky water, the occasional Great Egret or Great Blue Heron, but evidently the critters slept in, so I headed back to where I started.
Walking back to the car I saw that Monarch Butterfly which I featured in a recent Wordless Wednesday post. I followed it until it alighted. Finally a sign of critter life, no matter how you define a “critter” and, after clicking away, taking pics of that butterfly which likely wondered why I found it so fascinating, I moved along.
Oh no you don’t Mother Nature!
I saw this …
… and thought “there’s no escaping these pesky seeds … no matter where I go” but at least I didn’t have to sweep them up, a chore that awaited me sometime over the holiday weekend. Just as I was musing over these Maple seeds, I saw some weeds with red leaves on them. “This is a fluke” I muttered to myself. “No way are the leaves turning colors already!”
Noisy honking made me swivel my head upward to see a flock of Canada Geese, a sight usually reserved for my Autumn outings.
They evidently set their sights on a patch of grass for grazing and soon fell out of formation.
The chilly morn even had a Fall feel to it – say it isn’t so Mother Nature!!
It was “Home Tweet Home” on the shoreline.
As I ambled along, parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline, I saw a slew of wooden nesting boxes. I believe I’ve mentioned in prior posts that volunteers build those nesting boxes and attach them to wooden stakes to entice Bluebirds to nest along Cove Point’s shoreline. I’ve been visiting this venue since 2018 and have not seen a single Bluebird because the Tree Swallows have overtaken those boxes.
Below is one of those Tree Swallows staking its claim, with the soon-to-be decommissioned Trenton Channel Power Plant in the background. I’ll have more pictures of the birds and boxes in this week’s Wordless Wednesday post.
I heard a Great Blue Heron’s raucous screech, then saw a shadow overhead as it glided by. If you’ve never heard their screechy call, it is “loud enough to wake the dead” as that saying goes. The Heron likely saw me and took off with a harrumph. It perched delicately on a branch over a rock that juts out along Cove Point. I took this faraway shot of the regal-looking Heron …
… and, it held that perfect profile pose as I got closer.
The Barn Swallows blitzing about made my day!
I was back where I started, having taken a few wildflower photos along the way. I went to the wooden overlook for a glimpse of the Lotus beds from there – it was the same progress as Cove Point.
As usual, a lot of Barn Swallows were swooping and diving non-stop around the marshy lagoon and I heard tiny tweets and twitters. Happily the sun finally agreed to stick around which made for some nice reflections as you see below.
Dozens of times I’ve tried to capture their moves and come home with blurry black blobs, but today I was lucky. Evidently a few Swallows, weary from flying, paused to perch on the branches of a dead tree. I could not believe my good fortune to be about ten feet away from them. I was afraid to make so much as a peep as they might leave. What a beautiful bird with its distinctive forked tail, buff-colored breast and iridescent cobalt blue plumage.
There are literally hundreds of these birds, either nesting along Cove Point, or swooping and diving around the wooden overlooks. Barn Swallows are continuously in motion, catching and feeding on insects in mid-air and even feeding their young while hovering in place. After years of trying to get pictures that were not blurry of these pretty birds with their forked tails, I considered myself lucky that they posed so nicely for me.
The up-close-and-personal visit with the Swallows made my day, but my adventure continued on the other side of Lake Erie Metropark with Mute Swan cygnet sightings, something to check off my 2022 Birdie Bucket List! Stay tuned next week for that post.