Saturday, March 30, 2013

White Pelican Festival in Alma, NE

This past week, I had the pleasure of joining in the fun for the 2013 White Pelican Festival, a welcome back celebration of sorts for the spring migration of thousands of these pelicans who populate the Harlan Reservoir.

My trip Tuesday to Alma, a four-hour drive from Peru, quickly turned into a comedy of errors.  First, my left front tire blew after I finished up some preparations in the office.

So I put on the fake tire and drove to Nebraska City for a pair of
new tires I had planned to get next week.  The delay caused me to miss an afternoon boat rise.  Further stirring the chaos, around 4:00 in the afternoon, I realized that I had left my laptop--essential for my scheduled Feathers and Verses presentation--in my office.

So, I drove back to Peru and spent the night here, getting up at 4:00 in the morning to make my 10:00 presentation; however, as happend with the schedule the previous day, no one came.

But at 2:30, a wonderful group of fifth and sixth graders arrived,
and I enjoyed nearly 90 minutes with them; as the photograph at the top of the page indicates, the young students responded with considerable enthusiasm to the program, which pleased me greatly.

Thursday, I graded papers until 2:00 and then went with the festival organizer Pat Underwood, to find a Great-blue Heron rookery on the reservoir--and the drought reduced the reservoir by at least ten feet, so the rookery looks a long way from the water's edge.

And Friday morning, I enjoyed a 90-minute boat ride on the lake
amidst the thousands of White Pelicans and other water birds, from Comorants to Eared Grebes, Northern Shovelers to Coots.

But we did not see the Whooping Cranes observed on Wednesday and again Saturday morning.

The other boat ferried an excited  group of young birders--Crane River Young Birders--  around the lake along with our boat.  Fun to see youngsters enthusiastic about birds.

Special thanks to the folks at the Alma Super 8 for making me feel at home and to Pat Underwood for inviting me to take part in the festival and for including me on the search for the Great-blue Heron rookery--and Pat got to see her first ever Cedar Waxwing!

The Crane River Young Birders


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