The newspaper said in big letters "American White Pelicans sighted on Elk River!" So where does a birder go but to Elk River! Upon arriving I detect a problem - all the properties along this narrow band of river is private with No Trespassing signs clearly visible on docks and grasslands. Far in the distance, blinding white in the sunshine, are tiny white dots floating along the currents. The zoom lens proves them to be pelicans but there's no way to get closer. I drive along crookneck lanes, bobbing and weaving through potholes and tree limbs but there was no public access anywhere. The zoomed and cropped photo will have to suffice for today. Then, it snowed and I was house-bound for a bit. Me and the Yaris are not safe in snow - trust me.
After the roads were cleared up - a day or two - I went out to the dam on a whim. Surely, if they're on the Elk they'll be on Wilson Lake. Yes, yes, yes! Again, very far away but hope springs eternal. Patience may win the day. This site is part of the North Alabama Birding Trail. There is ample parking and public access and I am happy. So I go out and shoot some in the frigid wind chill but no pelican flies close for an hour or more. Again with the freezing fingers. Again with the tearing eyes and hair whipping about my face. Again with the herons and cormorants and gulls and coots.
Finally, a flock of seagulls (...that phrase takes me back) finds a school of bait fish and begin a feeding frenzy close to shore. A lone male American White Pelican spots the action and takes advantage. Finally. Finally.
He banks and dances in the winds.