Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Flocks

You know it's spring when flocks of birds appear.  As my previous post mentions, I always know my birthday is near when I look up to see and hear the long "V's" of tundra swans.

Other flocks that make me look up are snow geese, sandhill cranes and American white pelicans.

I live in a river valley, so spring flocks are common.  One morning when I was on my deck enjoying the sun warming the floor boards, I looked at the fast-moving fluff-ball clouds and noticed a large bird flock coming my way.

The flock caught a thermal over my head and I was treated to the salt-and-pepper pattern of the American white pelican.

What I mean by salt-and-pepper is that when the pelicans circle, they appear to change from light to dark -- alternating colors as they turn in the sun.  This is a diagnostic feature that helps to identify the flock.  It is well known that white pelicans circle on thermals.  I enjoyed the sight as I soaked in the sun.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Yearly Early April Birthday Gift

April is my birthday month.  I look forward to Mother Nature's gift to me in early April.  You will see me looking up into the drifting clouds to find my gift -- a white ghostly "V" of long-necked birds.  Often you hear their haunting voices before you see them.  I am referring to Tundra Swans.  They are a sure sign of spring. They follow the melting ice line as  they move north to the tundra where they nest.

I was fortunate to visit the arctic tundra one spring and photographed a pair and their nest, so now they even have more meaning to me.