A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau
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
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
On our last visit to Reelfoot Lake, we spotted a number of coots swimming close to the water’s edge, foraging for food. On that day, they were pulling aquatic plants and small fish from the shallow waters.
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” ~Luciano Pavarotti
We spotted these blue herons standing in the floodwaters of Reelfoot Lake. Due to excessive rain during the past two months, the lake, which is usually out beyond the tree line, has spilled over its shores.
“Don’t pray for the rain to stop; pray for good luck fishing when the river floods.” ~Wendell Berry
Fearlessly, this little fox squirrel came bounding onto the scene as I was looking at ice structures around the lake. Scavenging along the shore, he seemed quite at ease with my presence, and stuck several poses as he causally moved about.
“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.” ~Sydney Smith
The trees and plants along Reelfoot Lake were once again covered in glistening ice this past weekend. The beautiful detail and artistry in the rows of hanging ice structures made it look as if the trees were covered in fancy gowns of intricate lace. Icicles tucked among the plants along the bank reminded me of musical notes written like a song along the ground. Ice has a way of making everything look magical.
“God is as great in minuteness as He is in magnitude.” ~Unknown
The White Pelicans are once again back to winter at Reelfoot Lake. From the boardwalk, we were able to watch as they glided gracefully through the water. Every so often, they would dip their heads underneath the water and scoop a fish up into their large yellow bills.
“Sometimes you need to unplug and enjoy nature’s company.” ~Unknown
You never know what you’re going to see while strolling around the boardwalk at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Here are some shots that were taken back in June and July.
… Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again …