Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer on the Rocks

By the end of July, the water levels at the Falls of the Ohio are pretty low. This year's floods created a new sand bar just below the Interpretive Center which is  attractive to ducks, geese, and fishermen. The fishermen know to come early and leave when it gets hot, but the tourists haven't quite figured that one out yet, and they tend to arrive around 11:30, just as the heat and humidity become unbearable, not realizing that the fossils beds themselves will be 20 degrees hotter than at the top of the hill.
Local birders have flocked to the Falls during this time hoping to see the American Pelican which has been there for about six weeks now.  This is an immature bird, as evidenced by the dusky bill and dark patches on the wings. An adult will have a bill that is taxi cab yellow in color. Oddly enough, this is the third summer in which a single American Pelican has appeared at the Falls, enjoyed the fishing, then disappeared in the autumn.  Do you think Pelicans "twitter" to each other about unusual places to vacation? Otherwise, how would three different birds find out about us?  This morning, this bird paddled around fishing for a while, then spread his 8 foot long wings to fly for a while, then settled on a rock for some serious preening. The black primaries on his wings were unmistakable.  This is definitely not an Egret or some other white bird!

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