White Pelicans

A flock of white pelicans has arrived at Reelfoot Lake on their annual fall migration. We try not to miss a chance to see these beautiful, impressive birds.

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~Helen Keller

White Pelicans and Great Egrets

We came upon this peaceful looking scene — White Pelicans and Great Egrets foraging in the shallow water of farm land near the Mississippi River.

God made the country, so lovely and fair!, It’s wide open spaces for all to share; Where joy and contentment each one may find If he, earnestly, seeks for peace of mind.” ~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

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

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

The White Pelicans are back

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

Look up!

As I was standing and looking out over the lake, I felt a little disappointed at the apparent lack of wildlife in the immediate area.  Then I heard a passing kayaker tell one of his companions to “look up”.  As I lifted my eyes, I was amazed to see a large flock of white pelicans quietly soaring right above my head.  Such a beautiful and graceful sight that I would have otherwise missed if I hadn’t overheard the suggestion to look up.

“… How often we miss God’s treasures
Just because we don’t raise our eyes.
By keeping our narrow focus
We blunder and miss the prize …”
~Joyce Johnson

Watching the pelicans

Despite the overcast skies, we recently headed to Reelfoot Lake in hopes of seeing the white pelicans.  After looking for them in all the usual places, we finally found them at our last stop of the day.  It quickly became obvious that we weren’t the only ones watching them.  We spotted five eagles sitting high atop the trees — perhaps hoping to pick off a wounded pelican as easy prey.  Unfortunately, the grey day changed to a light drizzle, and then to rain, and our time of watching the pelicans came to an end.

“We could all take a lesson from the weather, it pays no attention to criticism.”  ~Unknown