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The best show in town — and it's free

By Debbie Leffler • May 16, 2019 at 12:00 PM

The weather for Mother’s Day weekend wasn’t super great — especially on Sunday — but both days we found beautiful places to walk and enjoy nature. I will tell you about them.

Saturday, we went to Sheldon Marsh. It is located off of U.S. 6 near Huron — not that far away. It was rather cold that day, although the sun did come out, warming us somewhat.

Walking through Sheldon Marsh is like being at a zoo — only better, because the animals were all around us, not in cages or separated by bars, but right next to us in their natural habitat. It was up to us to notice them, and notice them we did.

I already knew that we should look for birds there at this time of year, but even if I hadn’t read that ahead of time, it was hard to miss because, strolling along the path, there were people looking through binoculars at the trees. Many of them also carried cameras with lenses the size of cannons — well, not that big, but they were rather large lenses so that they could get close-up pictures of the birds.

Usually, I find people annoying when I go for a walk, but these people were helpful because whenever there was a cluster of them I knew I should stop and try to see whatever they were looking at.

There were many birds – some I could identify like bright red cardinals and robins with red breasts. There were others I did not know the names of — especially frequent were these black birds with red and yellow under their wings which stood out whenever they flew. It looked like they were wearing shoulder pads. These birds made a unique noise, and we could see their beaks open wide and quiver whenever they made that sound.

Then there were tiny, bright yellow birds that darted about and other small birds and birds with huge wing spans which we saw when they glided overhead. And there were swimming birds with necks that ducked under the water and reappeared later somewhere else. And the long, curvy-necked birds near the water.

I could go on and on about the birds, but I’ll stop here and write about the turtles. They could be spotted sitting in a row on tree branches that were horizontal in the shallow water. They looked like a series of small lumps, but they were turtle shells.

And there were squirrels and chipmunks and lovely wild flowers along the path.

Sheldon Marsh is not only a marsh, but also on Lake Erie. As we walked along the path, we heard a loud noise and I thought it was cars on the highway or maybe a helicopter, but my husband said it was the waves on Lake Erie and he was right. The cold weather, and the wind, had created waves almost like the ocean. When we got to that part of Sheldon Marsh, there was only a little beach/sand area because the lake had come up onto what used to be the sandy part and waves were crashing and the cold wind was blowing. We even spotted a snake on the sand — it was so still that I thought it was dead, but I pushed a little sand onto it and it definitely was alive.

Sunday’s journey was to Veterans Memorial Lake Park in Norwalk — AKA the reservoir. The weather wasn’t so great, but it wasn’t raining and so we went there. I had read that the Alex Waite trail had been expanded so we went to check it out. We found that, except for a few unfinished spots, we could make a big circuit around on the paved sidewalk — which was great considering how wet the ground was, due to the rain. The reservoir is especially beautiful with its wildflowers this time of year. Many had already bloomed, but there was still some trillium. The water itself is beautiful to see — and there are ducks and geese swimming in it. Even though I was going to stay on the sidewalk to keep my feet dry, I couldn’t resist climbing the hill to walk along the top of the reservoir and see the water from there. I used to take my young children sledding down that hill. And once upon a time the city fireworks were there and we lay on a blanket, watching them.

We took a few pictures on these outings, but they really don’t tell the story. Technology does a lot of things, but it can’t replace actually being in nature, hearing the sounds and seeing the sights and breathing in the fresh air. There is no admission charge for either of these places — I hope you’ll go if you have a chance.

Debbie Leffler is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. She can be reached at [email protected]

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