So what does a person do when a swarming black mass appears in the water? Go investigate. Watching the mass move and divide was fascinating. They would move apart and slowly come back together. The mass would swim in formation for a short time. Then, dividing to start the entire process over again.
So of course, I had to get closer to figure out what was forming the swimming, swarming mass.
When viewing wildlife, I tend to move forward without thinking. During this specific time, I learned two valuable lessons.
Never wear shorts and walk through nettles.
After all the years of wandering around in the woods, you would think I would have this engrained in my brain. But…sadly no, the nettles seem extra itchy this time of year. The nettles were waist high. Well, I am short, so maybe they were not as high as I thought.
Remember the creek banks are slippery after rain.
Once again, you would think I would remember this fact too. The grass and mud on the side of the bank were an issue for about a second. I believe I recovered nicely; I did not fall all the way down, get wet or lose the grip on my camera. Wearing hiking boots really should be my priority.
The Black Swimming Swarm
When I finally was close enough, I realized the black swarm swimming in different directions was baby bullheads. I am certain the little black bullheads have a proper name. Sitting on the side of the creek bank, I was mesmerized by the swimming flow of the hundreds of baby bullheads.
In mid-Michigan, the last couple of days has been warm. I mean, the state is being declared a moderate drought zone. Now normally, I don’t mind the heat. But, the added humidity just seems to drain all my energy. So, I have been rather….lazy. Well, lazy for me.
Spending most of my days indoors with the comfort of the fans. I don’t have air conditioning which is an investment I may have to make at some point. I have managed to catch up on some social media networking and writing. And, I even picked up a book for some afternoon reading. So, I guess the warmer days have some benefits. I don’t really want to complain. Because I know in a few months, we will have snow.
But toward the evening hours, I tend to wander outdoors. The one aspect I have noticed, the wildlife seem to be having lazy summer days too. The bullfrogs float in the shallow water along the creek bed’s edge.
I have spotted turtles just lazily floating along. Diving down for a quick cool off and coming back up to the surface to float again.
The forecast is calling for continuous warm days with a chance for a rain shower at some point. I am absolutely convinced if a rain shower occurs, I will be outdoors standing in the middle of the downpour.
When I am out walking, my mind tends to wander. I wonder what lives in the hollow of the trees, under the lily pads, and beneath the natural debris on the woodland floor. I photograph different areas to use as inspiration for my stories.
Earlier I watched lily pads move in the opposite direction of the wind. I, of course, imagined water fairies playing or gnomes skipping along the large leaves. In reality, the lily pads were moving along due to five little baby ducks swimming around underneath.
I assume the little ducks were hiding from predators. Or perhaps, they were just trying to get some shade from the hot afternoon sun. In any case, I really enjoyed spending time watching the little ducks swim between the lily pads.
Anyways, the little ducks provided me with the inspiration I needed to continue working on my book.
I love being outdoors; wandering around in the wooded areas has always been one of my favorite activities. So, here are some things I learned on my hike today.
1. In the back area, the Maple River breaks off into smaller creeks. One of these creeks are located on the back property. I love going down there to photograph wildlife. Jumping over the small opening that leads to the creek was a lot easier when I was sixteen. I made the jump for the most part; I just got stuck in the mud. Oh well, my boots can handle it. I wouldn’t expect anything less for springtime in Michigan.
The smallest little creatures can cause me to jump if I am not paying attention to the trail. Yes, this tiny frog about gave me heart failure.
The flowers popping up all over on the dull, muddy grounds are a welcome sight. The small beauties stand tall against the last remnants of winter.
The most unusual places can provide the biggest inspiration. I admit there are days where I could just spend hours sitting in the middle of the woods. (I need to remember to carry a note pad with me.) Being outdoors is good for my creative soul.
The snakes are out. I am not really afraid of snakes especially this harmless Garter snake. But I am concerned I will accidently come across one that is just “not nice”. Growing I was always told about poisonous snakes, I think the stories are always in the back of mind. The only snake in Michigan that is poisonous is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Or commonly known as the Michigan rattler is known to be a rare sight. But they do like the wetlands and the wooded areas which is where I frequent. I have never come across one in the wild.
I came across this wonderful pair of Canadian Geese who were not happy with my presence. They were both very vocal. I am assuming she had a nest nearby; I didn’t want to disturb her too much.
Even in the muddiest water, there are signs of life.
I hope everyone had a chance to get out and enjoy the sun today. Now, the sky is beginning to cloud over; there’s a 90% chance of rain for the overnight. So, I am glad I was able to get out for a couple of hours. I can fill the rainy days with writing.