Let me start this post by saying I have the bestest, most patient husband in the world. He indulges my wild _____(bison, moonrise, sunset, bloodmoon, wildlife, nature) chases, driving the car until I spy what I'm looking for and yell, "stop here!" Today it was pelicans.
Pelicans in Oklahoma? you ask.
That's exactly what I said!
Last year, I read somewhere about a Pelican Festival at Grand Lake. For some amazing reason, because I can't remember what I walked into the next room for, I remembered this and looked it up last Thursday. It was happening Friday & Saturday. Apparently, the American White Pelican stops at Grand Lake every year on their migration to the coast. Thirty-four years we've lived here and never heard of this. Not being interested in another small town festival, I suggested a Sunday drive to see if we could spot the pelicans on our own.
Thus began The Great Pelican Quest of 2015.
I found a map online with clip art of pelicans indicating common sighting places around Grand Lake. I knew we were in business.
Top down and coffees in hand, we enjoyed a Sunday morning drive 68 miles to the northeast. (Yes, we missed church. We discussed spiritual matters on the way. That counts.)
First stop on the map.
No access, no birds.
After a detour to Monkey Island, where the beautiful Shangri-La Resort is located ("island" should = easy access to water - and pelicans - right? Wrong. Only if you're rich.) it was off to the next clipart location. It was sort of a campground/picnic area. We pulled in & drove as close to the lake as possible. Here's the scene:
Park the convertible near some trees.
What is that noise?!?! We look up & it's full of blackbirds or crows.
Hubby says, "look, pelicans!"
Me: Whaaa? Those aren't pelicans!
Hubby: "not them - look there!"
A beautiful, perfect V of white birds glide slowly & smoothly right over our heads.
Me, tripping out of the car, grabbing camera: you think those are pelicans? they don't look like pelicans!
Hubby: Yes, I'm sure! Those are pelicans!
Me: aaagh!!! I'm not ready!!!!! Dang it!!
Camera's not on, not set for shutter speed, ISO is wrong. I was thinking we would see them flocked on the embankment and I could set up for a beautiful shot, like in the pictures I Googled!
Now, lest you think these could be those gulls that always hang around the lake, keep scrolling....
This is not a Klingon "Bird of Prey" by the way.
We ventured to other spots that were clip-artted with a pelican on the map and this is what we saw:
An abandoned picnic table.
Some renegade gulls (I'm not exactly sure what they're really called in these parts).
"Renegade" because here's the rest of the community..
Sailboat Bridge - so named because it's arched to allow the boats to pass under.
The Cherokee Queen (right), an old-fashioned paddle boat that tours the lake. CQ must be the Empress of the two. Supposedly, it will take you on a lake tour of pelican viewing during the festival. Maybe that would be worth the price next year.
The paddle wheel up close (with Lightroom effect).
So then I said to hubby "let's drive to the dam. There's a pelican clipart on the map at the dam"
He stopped here.
Me: That's not the Grand River Dam!
Him: "Yes, it is."
Me: you're kidding, right?
Him: "That's the dam. You wanted to see it. There it is."
(I think he was done with the pelican hunt by this time).
And yes, he was kidding. He knows this area. He rides his Harley all over northeastern OK.
Here's the real dam. The other was just one of the gates.
No pelicans though. According to the map, they should be around here. But. No.
Here's a shot I thought was interesting.
Hubby: "You left the door open - those motorcycles can't get by!"
Me: I thought they'd be in the bathroom longer!
And finally, on the trip home....
Hubby: "You better hope the wind doesn't catch that lens & you drop your camera!"
I didn't drop the camera. And we did have a nice time - driving on this beautiful day, talking, being goofy, enjoying the sights.
Further research has yielded up another location to try next year :):)