Hiking With 1000 White Pelicans

We set out early from Solon IA on the North Shore Trail along Lake MacBride. We walked about 2 miles along the 5 mile trail before returning to our car. There were many yellow wildflower varieties in bloom as well as Canadian Thistle. Some trees were damaged by the August 10 derecho that roared through this part of Iowa. But the trail had been cleared of debris. An enormous pile of tree limbs and trunks was piled in the parking lot that had been removed from town. It is slowly being reduced to mulch.

Here are a few sights along the way. Click to enlarge.

On our way home, we looked up to see a huge flock of White Pelicans above us. They were gliding upwind slowly. We pulled the car to the side of the road to watch them.

You can hear the sound of cars going by. At the very end Melanie says more of them are coming. In the distance downwind were many more groups heading our direction and some were circling in place like these.

Hundreds or maybe a thousand were now gathered almost directly overhead. They had captured some strong thermals and were rising hundreds of feet into the air. This image and video capture only a small part of the flock. It was a fascinating view. White Pelicans are a favorite sight for us. They come every year and stay. Their graceful flight and broad wingspan is inspiring. It was a wonderful way to end our morning outing.


9 thoughts on “Hiking With 1000 White Pelicans

  1. shoreacres

    I suspect you know that the practice of riding the thermals like these birds are is called “kettling.” Many broad-winged birds do it during migration; we sometimes see hawks doing it in the fall.
    When the white pelicans get here, it will be autumn, for sure.

    1. Jim R Post author

      I vaguely remember seeing that word once. But, I didn’t know it referred to this. Is it like the swirl when one stirs the pot?

  2. joynealkidney

    Oh, I remember going somewhere in the car and noticing pelicans above it. We even pulled off to get to watch them circle and glide. Kettling, huh? New word for me, but a delightful one. Thanks for the outing!

  3. underswansea

    Fantastic pics and videos. I would have loved to have seen these birds catching the thermals. I saw two White Pelicans for the first time in Calgary this year. An amazing sight. There was a Great Blue Heron near them and it looked small in comparison. Wonderful post.


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