White pelicans

White pelicans, migrating from their breeding grounds in the north, sometimes take a southern route along the Mississippi River.  A number of these birds arrived at Reelfoot Lake in October in search of food and a place to rest.

On our first encounter with them, we spotted a large number flying silently overhead.

Later, we saw several sitting on logs out in the lake, preening their beautiful white feathers.

Below, the second pelican from the right eventually grew tired of sitting and preening, and opted instead to go for a swim.

Whether in the air or on the lake, it is always a welcome surprise to come across these magnificent birds.

“Nature’s prime favourites were the Pelicans; High-fed, long-lived, and sociable and free.”  ~James Montgomery

Bald eagle

Walking along the boardwalk at the Reelfoot Wildlife Refuge, we spotted a Bald eagle sitting near the top of a cypress tree a short distance away.  It was keeping a close eye on a number of coots which were swimming among the vegetation out in the lake.

“Food may be essential as fuel for the body, but good food is fuel for the soul.” ~Malcolm Forbes

An unexpected guest

This pine warbler made a quick stop at my feeder one day this week.  Though not one that I had seen around before, his bright color and cheery trill were most welcome.

“Always remember to set a place at the table of life for the unexpected guest.”  ~Linda Ellerbee

Barred Owl

Several evenings while out walking, I could hear the loud, clear call of a barred owl off in the distance across a field.  This evening, I spotted a large bird soaring along from tree to tree on the road up ahead.  I walked quietly to the last spot where I saw it land, and was excited to see its large eyes looking back at me through the branches.

“But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees …”  ~Mary Oliver

Hovering around the flowers

Hummingbirds are attracted to the bright red color of the cardinal flower.  From these delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers, the hummingbird receives sweet nectar.  In return, the cardinal flower depends on the hummingbird for pollination.

Across the downs a hummingbird
Came dipping through the bowers,
He pivoted on emptiness
To scrutinize the flowers.
~Nathalia Crane

Venturing out

His presence given away by the clear, loud notes of his song, at first this little prothonotary warbler tried to stay hidden, moving about in the shadows of the low foliage at the edge of the lake.  Eventually, his desire to forage brought him out into the open, as he actively hopped from branch to branch in search of insects.

Here, he ventured out to sun and preen himself on the boardwalk.

“Keep not standing fixed and rooted.  Briskly venture, briskly roam.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Swallows and water lilies

We drove to Reelfoot Lake to see the water lilies and got the added bonus of watching a swallow family that was hanging out around the water’s edge.

“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe