A Common Goal

While hiking a wooded trail that runs beside the lake, we found a view through the tree tops of a group of White Pelicans flying high overhead. 

Continuing on, we suddenly heard a loud noise, and were surprised to see a flock of White Pelicans mixed with Double-crested Cormorants plummeting onto the lake near where we were hiking. Two birds that you wouldn’t expect to see together, but united in a common purpose.

After the commotion of the landing, the fishing party proceeded quietly along the shore for a short distance and then headed out across the lake toward the opposite shore.

“Teamwork is a powerful advantage when you share a common goal.”  ~Phil Geldart

Cormorants

Other than a gentle whir of wings, there is nothing to indicate that a flock of Double-crested Cormorants are quietly flying overhead.  Shortly before sundown, they can be seen moving swiftly through the sky, perhaps heading for a nearby roosting sight.

While Double-crested Cormorants are interesting birds to watch,

their growing presence at Reelfoot Lake is having damaging and irreversible effects on the local habitat, including the Cypress trees, many of which have been around for hundreds of years. 

These birds strip the bark off of the trees and, over time, their acidic droppings kill the trees and surrounding vegetation.

“A nuisance may be merely a right thing in the wrong place — like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.” ~George Sutherland

Frosty Feet

During the recent arctic blast, Reelfoot Lake froze over and ice formed around the base or foot of the Cypress trees which stand out in the water. This usually happens once or twice each winter, and is a beautiful gift of nature that shouldn’t be missed.

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”  ~Aristotle

“[W]hat a severe yet master artist old Winter is … No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.” ~John Burroughs

… Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snowmen …

… And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,

The world world looks good enough to bite …
~Ogden Nash

“Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old, their beards of icicles and snow.”  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“If you listen carefully, the silence is beautiful.”  ~Unknown

White Pelicans

We first knew that the pelicans had returned to our area in September when we saw a large flock of them flying high over the Mississippi River.

   

In early November, we were able to see them more closely and enjoy their beauty at Reelfoot Lake.

“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.”  ~Louis Schwartzberg

Peaceful Afternoon

Taking advantage of the cooler fall temperatures and the delightful sunshine, we spent a peaceful afternoon on the lake at Reelfoot Wildlife Refuge.  It was fun to hear the sounds of the crows and herons arguing, the screech of the eagles soaring overhead and the gentle sound of the wind blowing  across the water.

“Be mindful of the peace and quiet.  It is only when you keep silent that you allow the sounds of the forest to enter.”  ~Unknown

Dragonfly Days

The dragonflies seemed to know that the warm, sunny days are numbered and will soon be coming to an end.  They were out enjoying the sunshine, patrolling their territory and, undoubtedly, taking advantage of the abundance of mosquitoes in the area.  Occasionally they would rest on floating leaves or vegetation near the lake’s edge.

“Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?”  ~Woody Allen

Green Frog

A Green Frog sits on the stem of an aquatic plant, waiting patiently for his next meal to come along.

“Time’s fun when you’re havin’ flies.”  ~Kermit the Frog

Muskrats

Shortly before dusk, a muskrat came swimming across the lake toward the boardwalk at the refuge.  As it swam about in the shallow water, foraging on aquatic plants, it joined in a chorus of high-pitched squeals with a couple of other muskrats that were swimming nearby.

“Talking to your best friend is sometimes all the therapy that you need.”  ~Unknown