Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Still on pelican patrol

Well, these are still fairly exciting days in Lucas County --- if you measure excitement and big news (as I do) in terms of pelicans, still with us during what seems to be an unusually late migration to nesting sites in northern Minnesota and Canada.

When they're parked on water and cruising, it's hard to understand just how big these big birds (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos or American White Pelican) are --- some can weight as much as 30 pounds and have 9-foot wingspans.

The biggest flock (but not the most gregarious) was parked at Pin Oak, having taken over the gravel spit near the entrance as well as moving into cormorant territory and appropriating all the submerged or nearly submerged logs along the eastern shore of the big pond. I guessed 150 birds. And they even had the big Canadas subdued.

Naturally, as I walked closer to them (not intending to disturb them, but along the path paralleling the shoreline) the pelicans moved off the spit a few feet into the water, either walking or with a short flying hop, then sailed away to more remote locations.

A little later, parked on a chair and visiting at the museum, Lynne (who had just driven up from Russell) stopped in to report a pelican sighting on the most easterly of the twin lakes east of town along Highway 34 --- just north of the twin bridges. Thanks Lynne!

So I drove out and clambered down an embankment to take a look. These birds were not intimidated and seemed inclined to stay put --- I think they were enjoying the view of passing traffic on 34.

What a great day! Spring is practically exploding around us. Who could ask for more?

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