The Trifecta – sometimes good things come in threes!

Well you probably guessed, since I was wowed by the beautiful pregnant doe on my last trip here, I would hustle back to Lake Erie Metropark to search for her and her fawn(s) and cross my fingers for a second photo op.

June 18th was a picture-perfect day, 64 F/17 C, blue skies, sunny and warm, not oppressively hot or humid, which was a welcome change. I set out early to make the most of this Saturday. Before the day was done, I would have logged seven miles on my pedometer, stopping at two large parks, after visiting a new venue for me, the Emily Frank Gardens in Trenton. I took a lot of photos at the Gardens, but was encouraged by Deb and Lynn and about eight other “Garden Angels” (a moniker given to the many volunteers who toil in the flower and vegetable gardens) to return later in the Summer when the blooms were at peak. They were 100% correct because, per their suggestion, I returned Sunday, July 31st and what a transformation of “flower power” thanks to six weeks of blazing hot sun and humid weather.

I began my morning marsh meander at Cove Point.

I bought my first Metropark pass, good for entry in Michigan’s 13 local Metroparks, in July 2018. In the past, I usually walk and take photos along the picturesque shoreline of Cove Point to the marina, then return to my starting point, with a quick stop at the overlook where I view where I have just walked.

Then, if it’s not too late or too hot, I drive to the other side, where I do a more varied walk, stopping to visit Luc at his enclosure near the Marshlands Museum, the boathouse overlook, then trekking along the Cherry Island Trail. During the course of this trek, there are several marshy areas where I see Egrets or Herons. Of course, there are the usual ducks and geese and, if I’m lucky there is a deer sighting. The difference between the two sides of this massive park is like night and day.

There was nothing to see in my stroll along Cove Point on this morning, not a single Tree Swallow was standing guard over their mate and young-uns and unfortunately Mama and her fawn(s) were not out and about. Here you see a couple of photos of the largest American Water Lotus bed in its early stages.

Hoping to get some more up-close shots of those dive-bombing Barn Swallows, I headed to the wooden overlook where I saw and photographed the tree with its stripped bark and I would learn from many of you after publishing this post that the designs on the tree were beetle graffiti.

There were a few Barn Swallows, but none alighted on the dead tree branch. I figured this was going to be a dud photo excursion which sometimes happens, but oh well, I would get a long walk in anyway.

A few pond lilies had opened and floated lazily on pads in the marsh water.

The overlook was bustling with anglers and someone landed a big fish while I was standing there, so Your Roving Reporter similarly got caught up in the action, shouting out her congratulations and snapping photos. The angler had his fishing rod propped up and it had a bell on it. All of a sudden, the bell started dinging like crazy, so everyone rushed over. While the hook was being removed from the mouth of the struggling fish, I asked if this was a “catch and release” and his look told me all I needed to know. “Got it” I said and added “oh, it is dinner then – yay you, the fish not so much!”

Not to be outdone by his fellow fisherman, another angler raised a wire cage to show me his prize catches of the day; in fact, a live fish was still flopping around on a dead one, so I took a photo here as well.

I stepped away from all this fishing hoopla and went across the overlook walkway where, on this exceptionally clear day, I had a wonderful view of the horizon, with a few freighters and sailboats and another glimpse of the Cove Point shoreline and the largest bed of in-progress Water Lotuses. (That photo is the header image.)

Taking the path less traveled ….

At this point, I usually head to the car to drive to the other side, but today would be different. On the other side of the wooden overlook is the entertainment portion of this venue. I checked it out once, the first year I had my pass. In my opinion, there is nothing to see but a huge playscape, the Great Wave/swimming pool and concession stand. So why stray this way?

This year was different. I knew from my Metroparks newsletter that the Great Wave/swimming pool was closed the entire 2022 season for repairs; the concession stand was similarly closed. Hmm – perhaps the inactivity at this portion of the park might yield new wildlife sightings?

I would later pat myself on the back for that revelation.

Well, I’m always up for a little adventure, like Dora the Explorer.

Lake Erie Metropark is just 2 ½ miles square, including three miles of shoreline. By late Spring I am able to easily walk five to six miles without taking a break, so I decided since the winds had kicked up a notch and it was not hot, I would try walking to the other side of this 1,607-acre (6.50 km) park. After all, I could always turn back or simply rest at one of the many picnic areas if I got tired.

I cut through the huge, empty parking lot for the entertainment venue, then saw volleyball sand pits and a basketball backboard – well, that was pretty boring so far. There were some rolling hills that I learned were for skiing – ho hum, an equally blah landscape. As I walked down that long vehicle road, I began to regret my decision as my long-sleeved shirt I had worn to thwart the sun’s rays, (since I’d been sunburned on my last trip here), was starting to stick to my skin.

With the sun high overhead, my walk turned into a trudge, so I decided to head back to the car and do my usual routine.

But first, I heard a Killdeer’s distinctive call and got an okay shot of it …

… but I quickly stopped pursuing that bird, (not just because it was walking faster than me), but all of a sudden, I heard a loud and strange noise overhead and I knew it wasn’t Canada geese or swans. What in the world?

I shielded my eyes from the sun and took a better look as I saw three very large birds making an awkward and ungainly landing in the distance.

Even before their big feet hit the ground, I recognized them as Sandhill Cranes – a first sighting for me and not even on my perpetual “Birdie Bucket List” – I hurried as fast as I could, lest they take off again.

Here are the trio of Sandhill Cranes I nicknamed “The Three Musketeers” as they paraded single file across the empty field.

I believe it was parents and one offspring, as one looked slightly smaller. They walked on the uneven grounds on stilt-like legs, pausing every so often to graze. I will have more pictures for this week’s Wordless Wednesday, but this was one of my favorites, showing that distinctive red heart on the face and the “bustle” of feathers.

I was awestruck and it appears this Crow did a flyby to check out the Cranes and was equally impressed!

I follow a few birders on Twitter and they often feature Sandhill Cranes seen in Kensington Metropark, in a northern ‘burb not near me; I’ve never seen any pictures or sightings here in my area. When I got online and searched for some facts about them later that day, I learned that Sandhill Cranes are one of the oldest bird species and have been around for at least 2 million years. They stand 3-4 feet (00 – 1.2 m) tall and have a wingspan of up to 7 feet (2.0 m). I also learned that these creatures have at least 18 different vocalizations, including a piercing rattle that can be heard up to 2 ½ mils (4 km) away. I listened to a video of their calls – yep, that was indeed what I heard and I always though the squawking Heron’s call was annoying!

I spent at least 45 minutes observing and photographing the Sandhill Cranes. They approached me, at a respectable distance, so I stayed in place while they grazed contentedly. When two abruptly turned their backs and bustles toward me, I finally moved on.

Um – never turn the camera off and become distracted.

I ambled along, elated over my Crane find and found my bearings again as I discovered a “grassy cut” – woo hoo, who knew? This will be my route until the Summer of 2023 when the Great Wave/swimming pool opens again.

I shut the camera off to conserve the battery as I knew I still would be trekking to Luc’s enclosure, the boathouse overlook and the Cherry Island Trail. I am diligent about doing a tick check repeatedly along my trek and hadn’t after trailing after The Three Musketeers. Head bent down and camera off, I found none of the little buggers and when I raised my head, what did I see at the Turtle Crossing sign?

Well obviously deer can’t read signs. There was no deer crossing sign here! The first doe emerged from a wooded area, ambling along the vehicle road, not far from me, as I fumbled to turn on the camera and focus … whoops, I almost missed her.

Oh well. But wait! Here comes another one – girlfriends having a morning out! I was not so swift here either, as I assumed the first doe was traveling alone.

By the time the third doe loped across the road to the other side, I was decidedly smarter and got some better action photos. The last two does were smarter too, as they stopped and looked both ways before crossing the road!

I did my usual routine of visiting Luc, the resident eagle, checking out the marsh for waterfowl and heading to the boat launch and Cherry Island Trail. The smaller beds of Water Lotuses were already flourishing on this side and I knew by the next time I visited, they would have doubled in size.

I hit the Trifecta with my two trios of critters and before I would drive out of the Park later that day, an Osprey would fly overhead and I’d see my first Baltimore Oriole. What a trip and I had initially been complaining it was a dud picture day!

Feeling very adventurous after my encounters with the Sandhill Cranes and the deer, I decided to try the only trail I had never embarked on before. It is called “Trapper’s Run” and that trek will be the subject of next week’s 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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78 Responses to The Trifecta – sometimes good things come in threes!

  1. peggy says:

    What a great walk for you. Fisherman, scenery, Sandhill Cranes, a deer – Wow! Very nice post indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you – glad you liked it Peggy. The second part of my day at Lake Erie Metropark was not as exciting – but I did go on a trail I’ve never been before, so that was something different. Those Sandhill Cranes made my day for sure as did the three deer. I am easy to please!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pam Lazos says:

    What a gorgeous venue, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very fruitful walk!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Real adventure!! Marvelous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I’ve had a good run there in 2022 Anne. I have seen more critters that I’ve never seen before this year, than in the four years I’ve been going there. Those Sand Hill Cranes were a real treat to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. trumstravels says:

    I love seeing lots of wildlife! Sandhill cranes are so prehistoric looking. We have to do tick checks too, I hate that. We didn’t have them growing up☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That was a great walk Susan – the second part of the walk paled in comparison to this one, but was still fun – a different trail I’ve not been on before. The Sandhill Cranes sound prehistoric too – the noise they made when they descended! They were not as skittish as Herons or Egrets though and just grazed and moved along. I hate the tick checks too and I never remember ticks growing up either. We had a creek and field at the end of our street which was eventually built into a big mall and all of us kids played there – never got bitten by anything. (I saw a dead garter snake in my regular park this morning – first time for that, but I suspect a hawk had it and dropped it on the path – I did a double take!) We had our first mosquito-borne illness last week in Michigan. Usually this time of year the West Nile Virus crops up. These are not your father’s pesky pests!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anne says:

    Those cranes (and deer) are marvellous to see on your walk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Oh yes Anne – the cranes are not in my area, more the northern suburbs where it is more rural. The noise they made – I thought the herons were loud. It was a fun experience and I’ll have more pictures this Wednesday. I’ll likely never see them again as they were just passing through.The deer were funny – whenever I see deer at this park it is always a doe, never a buck and she is always traveling alone (or with a fawn) and usually I see them from afar or hiding in the bushes. That’s what I get for getting distracted momentarily!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. one never really knows what lays ahead of each days ventures?
    You drew the high hand today Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re right about that Wayne! What an exciting morning I had and those cranes were a sight to see. The deer I see at this park always were one doe or a doe and a fawn, usually from afar. To see three running across the road in front of me blew my mind. The second half of my long trek was not as exciting, though I saw a heron and egret fly up in a tree, but not as exciting as this trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LaShelle says:

    Wow these are some of your best yet. I love water Lily’s and lotus, I’m working on adding some to my cut flower arrangements for next year ❤️ the fisherman pictures and sandhill cranes are spectacular. I’ve been laid up on bed with COVID and here you’ve brought nature right to me. Thanks so much for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad to give you a nature treat while you’re laid up LaShelle! I am sorry to hear you are dealing with COVID – I wish you a speedy recovery. So soon after school started – any connection with that? Is Niki okay and your husband?

      This was a great trek and the second part of my walk for next week’s post, did NOT top this one unfortunately. The Sandhill Cranes were a real treat to see and I usually only see deer when I’m driving and can’t pull over (they don’t want people stopping on the road), or they are hidden in the bushes. This park is known for its white American Water Lotuses which are in full bloom by late July/early August. The have two main beds and then smaller beds in the various marshy areas. The flowers rise out of the leaves/pads sometimes almost a foot high. It is quite an attraction when they are in full bloom.

      Like

  9. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………….I’ve never seen sandhill cranes before………………………thank you………………………………….they were here 2 billion years ago!!!!!…………….fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      First sighting for me Ann Marie and I’ll bet I never seen them here again. I follow some birding sites, like Detroit Audubon and some local birders and they never mention seeing Sandhill Cranes around here. Glad to share the photos and info I found with you!

      Like

  10. Rebecca says:

    There is nothing like the sound of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead. I’m so glad that you got to see them up close and personal. What a treat for you! Your day may have started slowly, but it sure ended well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re so right Rebecca – I thought it might be wild turkeys at first, but it was too loud and they never made a peep once they landed and began grazing and walking around. It did make my day and I’m pretty sure it was a fluke they landed there. I follow the Detroit Audubon site and also follow some local bird photographers on Twitter and they never post pics of Sandhill Cranes – yes, very much my lucky day!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jessica says:

    Sounds like a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joni says:

    Wow, Linda, what a day you had. I’ve never heard of those cranes before. It’s amazing that your parks attract such a variety of wildlife and birds. Where the deer crossed, is that a road that cars would be traveling on, or just slow vehicles visiting the park. I’m impressed that you even attempted to walk 1000 acres over to the other side!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was a great day Joni – I really enjoyed myself! The walk I took after this one, the same day, was not as adventure filled as this one. Those cranes are huge and Google to hear their voices – it is a piercing sound and I first thought it was wild turkeys. They are not usually found here – more in the rural northern suburbs, so a first for me and likely the only time. I never see posts by Detroit Audubon Society or other local birder/photographers I follow on Twitter saying they see them here. I was very lucky. That is a road within the park and everyone has to travel 15 mph and no stopping. It is funny that they emerged from the bushes, ran across the road and into another group of bushes. That is a first also as I never see them in a group. It was nice that day, coolish or I would not have attempted it, plus the outside entertainment was all down for the Summer. I am glad I tried. I was really exhausted when I got back to the car (finally) – walking nonstop for hours.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow Linda!!!! I have never seen Sandhill Cranes, how lucky were you!!! What a unique bird, I hope I see one some day too. Thanks for sharing❣️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the pictures Diane and I will have more in my Wordless Wednesday post. I have never seen any of the birders in my area,or Detroit Audubon on their local trips, post that they saw Sandhill Cranes, so what a treat for me. I used to follow a birder on Twitter who went to Kensington Metropark every morning and filled her palm with seed and treats and the birds would land on her bare hand and eat. She made videos of them with her iPhone. Even the woodpeckers (Red-bellied and Downies) sat on her hand to eat. She took lots of photos with the camera of Sandhill Cranes, some with their young.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Eilene Lyon says:

    Some great finds for a small area! How cool to have those cranes drop in – just for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was a lucky day for me Eilene. I have seen pictures of Sandhill Cranes posted by a few Michigan birders I follow on Twitter, but none in this area. I think it was a one-time occurrence and it absolutely made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I love it, Linda, congratulations – way to listen to your “I would later pat myself on the back for that revelation.” What a happy trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post Linda – I love the cranes would like to see those.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ruthsoaper says:

    Wow what a great day for you! You know that deer are very common in our area but I haven’t been able to get a good picture of any this year. I’ve never seen a sandhill crane before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I did luck out that trip Ruth! And, with the exception of the doe/fawn last year, any deer sightings are in the bushes, or I see them from afar when driving on the road inside the park and they don’t let you stop the vehicle and park. This was something unusual to see three of them in a row. I remember you did a post with a deer in it. A first time for me seeing these Sandhill Cranes – a great outing!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Ally Bean says:

    Laughing about you being like like Dora the Explorer. May we call you Linda the Explorer? Your walk looks like it turned out great. Seeing deer is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You sure enough may call me Linda the Explorer Ally! Maybe that’s a better title than The Peanut Lady or Your Roving Reporter. I was surprised to see three deer in a row, then at Fourth of July, I got a picture of a doe wading in the marsh and munching some of the park’s prized Water Lotuses. Humans are fined for picking them or taking seed pods when they die.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Maybe it’s a fast turtle disguised to look like a deer! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What a dud photography day to a glorious one!! Nice pictures and lucky photo subjects you discovered that day.
    Your writing made it so like I was walking with you and seeing the same things. Great writing Linda!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks very much Esther! I am glad to make you feel you were walking alongside me. I follow a blogger in Connecticut who writes similarly and photographs critters, flowers and forests, etc. while walking. I have the same sensation of being alongside Barbara and her husband Tim. It did turn out to be a wonderful photography day. I’ll have some more photos from the part 2 walk this Monday. It was not as exciting as this one unfortunately.

      Like

  21. TD says:

    What a wonderful treat to watch the Sandhill Cranes, for your walk, Linda. They are beautiful to see.

    Turtle Crossing sign! Ha! I’ve never seen a turtle crossing sign. And the surprise that deer came across there. Smart deers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      TD, I really had a wonderful time watching those Sandhill Cranes. I’ve never seen them around my area and I follow Detroit Audubon’s posts about their excursions, plus follow a few local birder/photographers and they never feature these birds. What a treat for me! They were not skittish either like the Herons and Egrets are.

      Isn’t that a cute sign? I’ve seen it in a few of the metroparks and in some parks they have duck crossing or goose crossing signs. I did the post about the geese crossing the one vehicle road at Elizabeth Park; well, a few weeks later I was there and the geese were gathered in the canal and the kayakers had to go around them. Those geese are stubborn!

      Like

  22. Pingback: Trapper’s Run Nature Trail Trek. | WALKIN', WRITIN', WIT & WHIMSY

  23. J P says:

    I think I’ve never seen a Sandhill crane up close, so I love those shots.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. rajkkhoja says:

    Very nice post. Wonderful capture deer . Beautiful nature place. I like

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Of course I love the killdeer picture, Linda! How amazing that the sandhill cranes let you get so close. Those 45 minutes of observing and photographing them must have been such a thrill. It does seem that good things come in threes. 🙂 Capturing the deer crossings was the icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I knew you would like seeing I finally got a killdeer Barbara, even if it was from the back and not as up close as yours. It had been running on those long legs to and fro and finally stopped, so I was happy to take its picture.

      Yes, those sandhill cranes were quite a sight to see – a first for me as they usually are in the northern, more rural counties. The three deer crossing was funny as they seemed to come running out of the bushes, hi-tailing it across the street right in front of me, like some sort of comedy skit. It was a great morning for me. Glad you enjoyed reading about my adventures!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Zazzy says:

    I am loving that killdeer as well as the cranes. There is nothing so special as encountering these critters on their own turf. I think it probably helps that you’re often there when the parks aren’t very busy. Lovely to see those does as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was a great morning for me for sure Zazzy. And to think I thought it started out rather dull!

      Every time I try to photograph killdeer, they are too fast for me, so this was nice change as he/she just stood there; even with their back toward me, I was happy. I do think going earlier in the day gives me a better chance of seeing more critters out foraging for their first meal of the day. The does kept shooting out of the bushes and running across the road – they were too fast for me. At least the sandhill cranes moved slowly, or just stopped, so I had no trouble getting their photos. I loved seeing the cranes which I have long admired in posts by birders/photographers I follow on Twitter – what a treat to see them and photograph them. I think it was a fluke they showed up here.

      Like

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