IMG_1850This morning we went to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, where we hoped to see lots of migrating birds. We did, but since we forgot our field glasses were able to identify only this group of pelicans, hanging out at the last spit of land that divides the IMG_1853Missouri from the Mississippi. Yesterday at a thrift store I found a copy of my favorite bird book for $2! That seems sacrilegious for something of such great value. It has an inscription on the inside front cover, was a Christmas gift to someone in 1980 (“Merry Christmas to a Great Bird! With Love from the Flock”), someone who only opened it a few times, apparently, its pages still all crisp and white, its binding firm. A nice back-up copy for my dog-eared and yellowed one that was my father’s before me, since I’ve already given away another back-up copy, the likely fate of this one as well, because it doesn’t seem right to hoard something that someone else might enjoy, and you just don’t find prose like this anymore in field guides. About the pelican it says

“The first time I ever saw a motley crowd of half-grown Pelicans, I thought nature had surely done her best to make something ugly and ridiculous. It was a warm day and the birds stood around with their mouths open, panting like a lot of dogs after a chase, their pouches shaking at every breath. When I went near, the youngsters went tottering off on their big webbed feet with wings dragging on this side and that, like poorly handled crutches. The youngsters huddled together by hundreds in a small place.  Those on the outside pushed and climbed to get near the center, till it looked worse than any football scrimmage I ever saw. ”

IMG_1845Aside from the pelicans and lots of IMG_1876unidentifiable little birds in the bushes and trees around the slough, we saw thousands of snails and insects crossing the warming asphalt road in the sun. IMG_1871



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