Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Which Big Birds Are Seen In Cedar Rapids

A bird that is a pelican on Cedar Lake in Cedar Rapids on May 15, and one that is not. Below, this is less than half the crowd. There were many birds--maybe 30 to 40 or so--all crowded together along a sandbar on the lake.

We’ve moved quickly from cool early spring to sudden, warm summer. It’s suddenly green. A few late bushes and trees are yet to leaf out, but for the most part, everything is green, green, green.

The pears are already fading, but lilacs and crab apples are still in bloom and smelling sweet. And I saw a sign of the changing season yesterday that really made me pause. I went downtown for a meeting and was on my way back to campus when I was passing by Cedar Lake.

There were large white birds at a sandbar along the north shore. At first I thought they were swans, which seemed odd to see in such a crowd, but as I got closer, I saw that they were pelicans.

Well, cool. It was not an encounter as majestic as the time Matt and Ben and I saw eagles—nothing seems as impressive as an eagle unless you meet a live T-Rex—but cool nonetheless.

I learned, via the oracle Google and the Iowa DNR site, that these are probably American White Pelicans just migrating through. They are on their way to summer fun in Canada, and apparently can be spotted in Iowa twice a year—in fall on the way to vacation in Mexico and in spring on the way to vacation in Canada.

I’ll have to swing by the lake on my way home today to see if the big white bird party is still underway.

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