Just chillin’ on a chilly morn at Lake Erie Metropark.

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.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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53 Responses to Just chillin’ on a chilly morn at Lake Erie Metropark.

  1. peggy says:

    I must say I liked all your photos. I probably would not havet said hello to the man and his dog either – would not wish to break his train of thought. I have been so busy this last month I have fallen behind on blogging. Got 70 gallons of blueberries and am happy that chore is done. Working in that heat was brutal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Peggy. I was pretty excited about the Swallow pics after years of coming home with blurry blobs. You’re right – that man seemed lost in thought and I’m not sure he even saw me. He was the only person on the Cove Point side of the park. Later I saw more people on the other side. I know you didn’t post or comment for a while and when I was behind in Reader, scrolling down I saw you posted and realized you were okay and the blueberries were occupying all your time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra J says:

    Great shots of the birds Linda, it is hard to get them being they hardly ever sit still like this. It seems like the season is changing already. The birds seem like they are done nesting already also here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Sandra, I was ecstatic to see those Swallows stop moving and sit on the tree branch so close to me. That was a first as I have never seen them do that and it’s a dead small tree that’s been there for awhile. I was lucky for sure. And the heron as well. Next week’s post is the peek-a-boo deer and Mute Swan cygnets (also exciting, but across the marsh from me but another first)!

      Like

  3. Lovely! I particularly liked the barn swallows.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Anne! I was really excited about those Barn Swallows as they were just a few feet away from where I stood on the overlook. Either they were tired from all the flying around, or they decided to humor me as I always stop there to take pictures of them at that location.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay for the lack of a crowd to deter the photos you captured. All of them are beautiful, and I agree with Anne, that the barn swallows close-ups are great. Nice job, Linda! And the guy with his dog, that’s precious!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s been a while since I saw barn swallows. They were in my old neighborhood until it got all built up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      They are here at Lake Erie Metropark under/around each wooden overlook and there are several overlooks. Also I see them at Heritage Park. I’ve had a Swallow pause at the covered bridge at Heritage Park, but not for longer than a millisecond, then they’re off again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great shots of the Swallows Linda! I’ve seen trees beginning to drop leaves already. Par for the course.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Wayne – I was ecstatic to see a few of these Swallows perch on the branches of that small dead tree, not many feet away from me. I sprang into action to take pictures, hoping the clicking of the shutter wouldn’t cause them to fly off. My lucky day! They look so streamlined in flight, but a little plump like a pet bird up close. I’ve seen a few trees in the neighborhood with a few red leaves and the yellow Poplar leaves at the Park are beginning to drop onto the path already.

      Like

  7. ruthsoaper says:

    Great pictures of the swallows Linda! I don’t think I have ever seen one not in motion. We have a pair of blue birds at the farm this year, but they haven’t been still enough for me to get a photo either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ruth – I was really excited to see them perch on that dead tree branch after years of seeing them flitting around this park near all the wooden overlooks or at Heritage Park around the covered bridge and coming home with images of blurry blobs. They sometimes build their nests in the rafters of the covered bridge. They’re always on the move! I’ve never seen a Bluebird, though I’d love to. The wooden nesting boxes, which you’ll see in my Wednesday post, have been taken over by these Barn Swallows. Walking along the shoreline, I’d see one Swallow on top of the box and sometimes one poking its head out of the hole – guessing a pair.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Rebecca says:

    I enjoy watching the swallows do their aerial diving over ponds. You got some nice shots of them perched on the branches as well as of the heron and geese. I’ve noticed color change in some of plants also. We have had such a hot, dry summer that I’m afraid the plants are going to be stressed out this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca – I was lucky to have them perching on the dead tree branches, just a few feet from me! I was afraid to make a sudden move, lest they fly again. I’ve been back to this wooden overlook two more times since that day and they’ve never landed there again. It was my lucky day as I saw that Heron, then on the other side I finally saw Mute Swan cygnets, though they were on the other side of the marsh, too far to get a close-up. But still exciting! I’ve seen the Poplar leaves already littering the pathways of several parks. My neighbor’s Magnolia bush is about to bloom, for the third time this year – very strange weather.

      Like

  9. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………thanks for all the nice nature pictures of Erie Metro Park, my favorite too…………………………….It made me feel lonesome……………………that we haven’t been able to ‘get up and go’ there

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re welcome Ann Marie – I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and hopefully once it cools down, you and Steven can park over by Cove Point and enjoy some of the scenery there. I was at three other local metroparks over the Fourth of July weekend, but I still like this one the best.

      Like

  10. Eilene Lyon says:

    Yes, I did catch your Beach Boys reference there! Wonderful barn swallow shots, I’ve never been that close to one. We did catch three violet-green swallows in our mist nets last month, though. Very cool. We have them nesting in a tree cavity on our property, too.

    How well I know that great blue heron squawk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you caught that Sloop John B reference. 🙂 I have not been to a ton of concerts in my time, but seeing The Beach Boys and Chicago was an annual Summertime ritual for me back in the day. Thank you Eilene. These were the Swallow pictures I mentioned to you a few weeks ago. The pics of some of their nesting boxes on the shoreline will be this Wednesday’s post, but they’re not as close-up as there was high grass and weeds to step through and I worried about ticks so I stayed on the path. I was ecstatic to be able to, at long last, come home with photos of these pretty birds. These are the only kind of Swallows I see here and at Heritage Park, same coloring and the long forked tail. The Herons make that horrid noise, even when they don’t catch sight of you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie says:

    Wow!!! Those photos of the barn swallows are stunning!!! I love seeing them again for the first time each spring. Thanks for taking us along on the outing with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Laurie! I was really excited to see them so close up and sitting still after years of taking pictures and having them turn out to be blurry blobs. Barn Swallows are in abundance at this park and Heritage Park. They must have been tired to sit there and pose so nicely for me. I’ve been back to this park two more times and they were just non-stop swooping and diving as usual. This was a fun day as the other side of the park I saw a doe and cygnets!

      Like

  12. Joni says:

    I didn’t know Barn Swallows were so pretty! I always thought of the as drab brown things. It looks like you had a great day despite the weather. I’m looking forward to the baby swans next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It’s hard to get a good look at them since they’re always on the move. At Heritage Park I’ve seen them flying to the ground and picking up mud and sticks, then they go under the covered bridge and build nests with the mud/sticks. It was a great day Joni – the second part of my day I saw a doe peeking through the bushes and those cygnets. I hated to leave. And when I left, I saw a Bambi-and-Thumper moment, but I was driving and you can’t pull over, so I couldn’t take a picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dave says:

    Nice coincidence, Linda. We had several dozen Barn Swallows dive-bombing our house yesterday as if it was springtime and time to build nests. As you say, they are ambitious little souls. They can build an entire nest under our eaves in the space of a day, using water and twigs from a neighbor’s pond nearby. We always have to knock the nests down (with water from a hose) because once one gets built it seems a dozen more will follow and then you have a real mess on your hands. Not sure what brought them here yesterday but it was one (day) and done and we haven’t seen them since. This year’s wacky weather may have them wondering what season we’re in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      The Barn Swallows overtook the Bluebird boxes, standing on them to stake a claim – rather belligerent of them, but birds are pretty defensive when it comes to nesting time. Watching Barn Swallows carry mud and twigs to “plaster” into their nest that’s nestled in the eaves of the covered bridge is remarkable and ambitious. I’ll bet the weather is affecting their nesting habits. I saw no birds or squirrels at the Park this morning, but left food for early tomorrow – it’s too hot for them to be out and about foraging in the 94 degree heat, unless it’s before I get there.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. What a beautiful picture of the sailboat. There’s even a bird in the water. You are always capturing birds and squirrels!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love the portraits of the mallard couple and the great blue heron! The picture of the man and his dog was very touching. And the barn swallow pictures are amazing! You were very lucky and I can see why that made your day! 🙂 (I know that feeling!) Thank you so much for taking us on this lovely walk in Lake Erie Metropark. I’m glad it didn’t rain on you after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      The mallard couple looked so content I had to use them for the header image. Later that day, on the other wide of the park, was another mallard couple who were faced the opposite way and sitting far apart from one another so I had to take a picture of them too … what a contrast. I kept taking photos of the heron as I neared it, sure that it would fly away before I could get close to it. I was lucky with the barn swallows Barbara – first time ever they perched on that branch and I’ve been back twice since that day and back to the overlook and they flew around like they always do. You’re right – that really made my day. This Monday will be part two from that same day – I had to split them up at I took so many pictures

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great shots, Linda! I loved the Heron and bird shots best! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Tom – I was pretty excited about the Heron and then I saw the Barn Swallows perching on the dead tree and was ecstatic about that as well. The up-close shots gives you a good luck at their pretty plumage.

      Like

  17. Pingback: The moon and stars were aligned … | WALKIN', WRITIN', WIT & WHIMSY

  18. Zazzy says:

    I’m glad you linked back to this post. I love those barn swallows. I love swallows in general. They are beautiful, aren’t they? And I love to watch them fly. That’s my chosen super-power, you know, if I could have one. I want to fly.

    Like

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you – I wanted to do that Zazzy as it was a long day at the park and the morning had been great for picture-taking. I could not believe the swallows perched there as they usually take to the air only. Then the next day I went to Heritage Park and next to the covered bridge (where there is usually a nest or two in the rafters), I got a shot of a perching barn swallow again (not as close up though). There was a movie once about geese and people had a little flying machine that flew alongside the migrating geese. The geese were so intent on flying, they took no notice of the machine.

      Like

  19. LaShelle says:

    What a gorgeous day! I love hearing about the eagle. He’s so cool. That photo of the man with his dog is spectacular. Loving the nature photography!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I just took a little spin on your blog LaShelle – those ducklings are precious and made my heart melt and the boy and the dog are just like this man and his dog – the whole world may be revolving around them, but it is just the two of them. Poor Luc has been there for many years. I will have some Mallard duckling photos coming up the week of August 8th – I am always behind in churning out posts from when I actually walked. I only do two posts a week, a long one Monday and a Wordless Wednesday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LaShelle says:

        I love you routine! I usually post once a week on Tuesday’s and if I’m late then it will drop on Wednesday or Friday. I try to be consistent but life is busy sometimes 🤪. I also try to work myself ahead by scheduling posts in advance. I try to that when I know I’m going to be in over my head that week. Nikolai (my son) who’s the boy you’re referring to is headed back to school next week. Luckily I’ve written myself several weeks ahead so good things will drop! 💪 I’ll look up that chuck-will’s widow post. You’ll love the picture the most!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I thought it might be your son that I saw when I first landed on your blog – what a sweet photo, a boy and his dog. I am one week ahead now and that feels good. We have good weather this weekend, so I will try and get out to several venues. I walk in a smaller park during the week. I started doing Wordless Wednesday two years ago. I take so many pictures that I usually try, if possible, to skim off enough pictures from my Monday post to use for Wednesday on the same topic. I stray a little from the nature posts for holidays or special occasions, but not all that often – I like to keep to my schedule if possible. I used to post more frequently, when I only used one picture or a stock photo but not any more. Blogging takes up more time than anyone (but fellow bloggers) realizes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LaShelle says:

        It really does eat up a lot of time and because I enjoy writing so much I spent quite a bit of time reading over and Correcting the things I’ve written. I spend several hours trying to perfect things and then I spend hours read other people’s things LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I love writing too and I also spend hours and hours on posts, sometimes proofing to ensure I make no mistakes and changing a little then. Yesterday when I thanked Jen for the post in the comments section, I made a mistake as my internet service provider was planning to do maintenance from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I e-mailed Jen to let her know that and then I had internet at 8:00 a.m., so I could approve the links in her post and write a quick comment before I left on my walk. It was down for work-time for several hours.

        Yes, mine are long and I have pictures and have to decide which ones to leave out; that’s why Wordless Wednesday works so well for the overflow. 🙂 I’ve had a couple of people say “blog posts should not be overly long” … I shrug and say “I have lots to tell about.” Yes blogging does take a lot of time. I have been better keeping up lately, but sometimes I am behind four or five days in Reader, then catch up if I can on weekends, then my Monday post comes along, I fall behind. It’s a Catch-22 sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LaShelle says:

        I try SO hard to keep it around two pages 😬 but lately I’ve been pushing 3 and with photos… WOOPS! It’s gets SO long!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know the feeling – I type my posts in Word and I am mindful of the word count – but keep writing. But yes the pictures – I say “25 – no more!” I follow a Connecticut blogger who likes nature, goes to a lot of nature preserves where there are shorebirds and goes on woodsy treks with her husband that are similar to mine. She says “20 photos – no more” then has a difficult time winnowing them down.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LaShelle says:

        NORMALLY I only post ONE photo with my stuff, MAYBE two but with my trip that I took with my family, and my garden that I love… well things got away from me 😆😅

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I totally “get” that!!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. J P says:

    I have never been one captivated by birds, but those barn swallow shots are beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you JP – I felt very lucky that those birds (finally) got tired and decided to perch in that tree. That has never happened before and I was so close to them, I was afraid to move a muscle.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Really wonderful blog here Linda. I absolutely love how this website is about sending joy and the use of images here from the pots, nature and animals really captures a human eye! 🔥🔥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you so much for this comment Mthobisi Magagula. It is funny that this blog just started out to write about my walks, which were at that time mostly in the neighborhood, so very little pictures. Then I discovered a small park one mile from my house and started taking pictures of the squirrels and birds. I’ve since “graduated” to walking in larger parks and taking a ton of pictures. It has been fun blogging and getting more interested in photography. I’m always behind and except when I put a special post in, like the Grandparents Day, or my friend who got me started on this blog’s birthday, so I am often writing about walks taken weeks or even months before.

      Liked by 1 person

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