Tom writes . . .
Middle Grand River – Eaton Rapids to Bunker Road – June 12, 2017
Things that fly over the Grand River – Not necessarily Joe and I…
This seems to be the beginning of Dragonfly Season. We saw many as we paddled. Two types: One type slim, with bright jewel-like green/blue bodies and black wings, and another larger, more robust-bodied multi-colored pastel type with transparent wings. I do NOT own a Dragonfly identification book, and online, there are so many pictures that I cannot identify. It appears that there are hundreds or thousands of Dragonfly types.
Another Grand River flier is the duck. We put our canoe in at the nifty river town of Eaton Rapids. We saw an Eaton Rapids resident flock of extremely odd ducks. Many of them had unique coloration patterns, sort of generally Mallard-like, but lighter, and darker, nothing you ever would see in a bird book. (I DO have a good bird book.)
It turns out, these unique ducks all are descended from a certain white duck named Larry. Our new friend Rivermaster Russ told us that Larry the White Duck has been hanging around the Eaton Rapids Canoe Launch for years, and he has been mating with Mallards, fathering all these unusual-looking ducks. Joe and I actually saw Larry when we launched our boat. He was lolling about on the grass with his current Mallard-ish paramour. From what we saw, it looks as if Larry probably likes to mate with some of his own descendants sometimes.
This is NOT a metaphor for anything human. Just an interesting local story you would not hear anywhere other than Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The ducks of mixed heritage in Eaton Rapids all appear to be normal functional ducks, no disparagement intended. I encourage you to visit Eaton Rapids. Not just to see the unique ducks, but because Eaton Rapids is a community that encourages great canoeing. They removed a dam recently, and, to enhance their river experience, they are working on dealing with their other dams.
I have written about herons before on this blog. Herons on the river like to fly up ahead of approaching canoes, and then land farther ahead, and then fly up again, and repeat. It is somewhat as if we were being led by a guardian angel, whenever one of these magnificent big birds does us the honor of leading us onward.
Joe tried out a new camera on this trip. I hope he has video of our Guardian Heron, and of the rapids we went through. Cheers! Please join us on the river!
P.S. Other things that fly over the Grand River are Chestnut Tree Blossoms. We were there at the right time of year to see them. Chestnut trees occur every once in a while amid the mostly Maples and Oaks. And, in mid-June, their white blossoms are lovely and fragrant. Many of them grow right next to the river. It is sort of sad to see when the river undermines them, and the trees fall, and the flowers drag in the current, and you know those particular trees will not bloom next year.
More on fliers over the Grand
Swallows! I forgot about them because I got too involved with the story of Larry the White Duck. However, we had a flock of lovely Swallows at the Eaton Rapids launch site.
These are great-looking birds with bluish black shiny top sides, and orange plus white underneath. Not very big, maybe a little bit bigger than sparrows. For some reason, they were chasing one another around the launch site, on the ground right at our feet. They might have been fighting, but I choose to believe they were playing. Probably Barn Swallows, maybe Cliff Swallows.