Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mental Health Day

Yesterday I took a Mental Health Day. Turning off the computer I donned hiking boots, grabbed bottled water and my camera and headed out into the wilds. Dave Matthews crooning in my ears, my shoulders began to relax the further I drove. The day was slightly overcast but temperate, only requiring a light jacket. There was no plan necessarily, except hoping to find bald eagles, or maybe heading to the state park to watch the deer. Lately, my photographic efforts tend toward the hunt and capture of some elusive creature rather than shooting static landscapes. It's a phase - always happens during the migratory season when you never know what bird you'll see out the window. This cute little female bluebird stopped and literally posed for me. Is she cute, or what?

Case in point. We've been innundated with several varieties of gulls on our lake. I'm not interested enough in them to track down what species I'm seeing, but they are very entertaining. About this time last year we had what we called The Weekend Of The Gazillion Gulls. We always have lots of gulls, but for three days it looked like a snow blizzard on the lake every single second for three days. They were everywhere, dipping and darting, floating on the surface, perching on boat houses and slips. Mostly Ring-Billed Gulls (I DID look these guys up, it was such an unusual event), which are quite large. Their calls were constant and loud; we could hear them in the house. ANYWAY, I'm digressing. Yesterday my husband is staring out the window toward the lake and said "What are those birds DOING?" A bunch of gulls were feeding on what we guessed to be a school of minnows. The loons were trying to cash in as well. Here's one shot of many. Okay. I had to get outside. The birds were calling me. Back to my mini-road trip. Pulling into a large gravelled area below the dam, the designated bird watching area was practically deserted. Sounds of gulls reached my ears when the car's engine was silenced. peaceful. Gulls and cormorants and coots were floating around in front of me - the usual dam birds. (LOL)

I grab camera and keys, locking the door began to walk around. Immediately, I spy something unexpected and almost couldn't breathe - the American White Pelicans were here!!! Folks, this is rare. This is only the 2nd year I've been fortunate enough to see them. Amazingly, they were completely unfathed by my presence and I got some great shots. Here are some good ones.

They kinda speak for themselves, these photos. What beautiful birds! I was extraordinarily blessed to see them, and get close enough (with my 100-400 zoom) to immortalize them and share with friends. Fishermen and their boats began coming to shore as rain was moving in, their presence disturbed the pelicans who flew closer to the dam. The rain and their movement away was a signal it was time to return to the real world, leaving my pelican pals to enjoy their fishes.

Watching these huge white birds I thought about our friend John, Born Again Bird Watcher, who is sick with pneumonia. This post is for him - get well soon, John!


jodi said...

Oh MY....these photos are breathtaking, Debi! I can only dream about such birds, although I hear reports of bluebirds down in the Valley around a few sites, so I'm going to put up nesting boxes and plant more trees as shelter..the pelicans, however, I'll just have to enjoy via your blog!

Diane said...

Sounds like a perfect day and what great shots you got especially of that bluebird and those pelicans! Wow, with a 400mm no wonder you get some deliciously close shots. Those of the pelicans flying are fantastic. I hope you feel rejuvenated.

Alberta Postcards
Diane's Flickr photos

Threadspider said...

OH-pelicans!!! I have never seen live pelicans! Such stunning pictures...... Such a perfect day.

Anonymous said...

Wow, and I mean wow about your photos and documenting. I love to see what you are seeing. This is a beautiful blog and thanks for sharing so much. I read about the TVA not selling any more property. Isn't that kinda funny----first they force people off their land back when they built the whole thing----then they allow redevelopment and now they stopped any development. It is a evolution of the environment of sorts. They seem go have come full circle. It really did create and do lots of good and some pretty lakes came out of the TVA project.

I like your paddle boat story too. Some of my distant uncles and grandfathers used to build those paddle boats. I have pics of them standing beside those majestic beauties.

Loved your blog and I added you to mine.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Hi Jodi. There are lots of bluebirds around here but the building has run a few off. Our Conservancy plans to create a "Bluebird Corridor" at some point in the future...maybe...if we can get enough folks to participate. I love them - they're as pretty as your blue poppies!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Diane - You know, playing in the wilds sure gets the kinks out of ones' neck and the angst out of one's soul. It's something I can't live without doing - exploring and documenting. That, and playing in my garden, of course. One day I need to do a "gardening blog" so you guys'll see I really!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Threadspider! You've left lots of nice comments (thank you) and I just visited your blog, which I ADORE! You must visit my buddy at Island of Souls, another fabric artist like yourself. And you're a Snapdragon as well - jolly good! I look forward to reading your blog often - thanks for stopping by and saying such nice things.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Greetings flowergardengirl! I love your blog as well. The flower and shrub photos today make me long for spring even more. I'm considering Knock Out Roses for a particular place as I think they bloom well but aren't deadly, like with long canes that'll grab a hapless lawn mowing person.

TVA is just another government bureaucracy that is all powerful. What you say is correct, however they now have a tremendous conservation program while bringing in energy, and they've been a tremendous help with our neighborhood Conservancy. Perhaps they've seen the error of their ways, allowing certain development and the harm it did to the river system. Who knows? I'm just glad they're stopping the development thus keeping the river as clean as possible. Keep your fingers crossed!

How cool that you have ancestors who helped build the paddleboats! That's blog-worthy - would love to see the photos! Thanks for stopping by.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

How exciting! I love the bluebird picture, and yes, it is adorable! I'd say it was definitely worth the trip for you! Don't you just love moments like that?

Rising Rainbow said...

The bluebird looks sweet. Great photos.

twilightgecko said...

exquisite.. i'm so envious.. beautiful birds, beautiful photos..

Anonymous said...

Amazing shots Debi! That bluebird is adorable. I don't get them in my neck of the woods. Most spectacular are those pelican shots. Stunning.
An unusual duck is the pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can... (a bried stroll down memory lane of my childhood).

Good luck with the 'bluebird corridor'. I hope you're successful protecting these lapis delights.

Crafty Gardener said...

Great photos of the pelicans. Sounds like your mental health day was a success.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Good morning everyone. Mental Health Days are great, and I shall now use the term "Lapis Delights" every time I see a bluebird, Patti - great terminology. Have a great day, everyone!

Mark said...

I can honestly say the female blubird is one of the nicest bird pictures I have seen for a while.Great colour and detail and the background is spot on. Well done and I hope the trip did wonders for you.

Cheers Mark

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Debi I just loved that you shared your birding tour.

The pelicans are a great bonus. Aren't they just amazing birds? Such color on thier big bills when you get to see them up close in sunshine. I am always amazed to see them in flight. They look prehistoric to me.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...


Welcome and thank you! I checked out your blog and website and love your bird and nature photos as well. A website is my next project, but it's a little intimidating. Thank you for your nice comments and for visiting. "Ya'll come back now, ya heah?"

The Giraffe Head Tree said...


Pelicans do look a little prehistoric now that you mention it. My mom and I say the same about Great Blue Herons, calling them Pterodactyls when they fly over and squawk in their awkward fashion.

The pelicans usually leave her sometime in March, flying back up north for the summer. Another dam trip is on my list of Things To Do. 100 photos just isn't enough! They're always a treat this time of year, these white pelicans. Thanks for your nice comments!


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