There's a fairly new park in my neighborhood. It's only been open for a year or so. Jack and I walked down to see it last fall and decided we liked the relative peace there. It's sandwiched between busy Columbus Boulevard and the equally commercial Delaware River, so 'relative' is the operative word.
The park is attractively designed, with a nice new pier walk and a few informational signs. From 1870 until 1915, Pier 53 was an immigration station, primarily for immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. The station was demolished in 1915. So, like many places in Philadelphia, we have the ruins of what once was.
For us, the big draw is the opportunity to see some birds that we don't see much of anymore. When we lived in the country in Massachusetts, on the banks of a stream and with wetlands and woodlands, we saw anything and everything. Around our current house and in the city, we see mostly pigeons, starlings, sparrows, robins, a few mourning doves (which I adore), and the occasional hawk. I hear a cardinal every now and then, but I almost never see one. This winter, we had a pair of Slate-colored (Dark-eyed) juncoes that we fed on our tiny patio. So we were delighted to see cormorants and ruddy ducks and a pair of tree swallows. We also saw a downy woodpecker, but he / she flew off before I could get a photo. And you'll just have to take my word that those dots in the water are ruddy ducks, lovely small ducks with white on their heads and perky little tails.
As we were entering the park, I noticed this strange object hanging in the branches. What do you think? Voodoo?