Monday, March 21, 2011

White Pelicans

My favorite memory from my first sailing trip to Mexico from San Franciso has to do with arrival at Puerto Vallarta. It was a fairly tough sail, so I kind of staggered to shore (you loose your land legs after a couple of weeks) and found myself a recliner on the beach. I opened a Corona and stared at the sky--just in time to see this amazing formation of Pelicans fly overhead. Not your normal kind of gray and dingy pelicans from San Francisco--but a group of snow white and amazing pelicans from the Pacific.

Imagine my delight last year when I spotted the same beautiful creatures on Lake Manitou. Now, we have a report via the Rochester Sentinel that a flock has come to visit us today. They are passing through--but what a pleasure to know they are here. They are presently in Rain Creek, but we're hoping for a visit on Manitou.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunrise on Open Water

Well, we had our first "Spring" day yesterday. A high of 72 degrees. A nice break from winter. Spring comes in fits and starts in the Midwest. Lots of cold days to come--but also lots of sunshine. As a wise man once said, "It takes a Winter spent to truly appreciate the Spring."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Strangers Passing Through

We have two loons making themselves at home on the lake. We only enjoy them for a brief time. They like their water cold! They are on their way north. They are under the water as much as they are on top of it. You will seldom see them on shore as their bodies are so long--and their legs set so far back--that they can just barely walk on land. They don't seem to sing when they are in transit. Their call was one of the great memories of my fishing trips to Quebec--but there's not so much as a peep around Lake Manitou.

A note on the photographs of birds for this blog. They are off the internet. My peanut camera just can't do justice to the birds. Back in the old days I had a 500mm lens--and that just barely got the job done.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Of Open Water, Sandhill Cranes, and Swans

OK. Spring certainly isn't here yet. But today we have open water to the shore. It took a little persuasion with a sledge hammer here and there, but we now travel by boat and kayak.

The day prior I was greeted by a pair of Mute Swans just off the southwest side of the island. They were here the day before the lake froze--and they returned to say hello the day the lake opened. Soon they will be back to their more familiar haunts at the Manitou headwaters.

More amazing for us--the Sandhill cranes are loosing some of their shyness this year. Before now, I only saw them flying overhead, or standing at the headwaters of rain creek. Today, there were three cranes walking about the remains of the ice field, halfway between our island and Rose's English Cottage on the shore. To watch these birds take flight, is to see one of nature's marvels. How does a body that big ever get airborne! I am reminded of the military cargo planes lumbering off the runway at Travis air base. If you hear a steady warbling sound--look high up in the sky and you may catch a glimpse of them.

Keep the faith--Spring can't be far behind!