Each week, I go to Austin, Minnesota to take my nieces on an adventure. They like going to the park, but they are always hungry after school, so I usually take them to them out for Mexican food, followed by a trip to one of our favorite parks.
This week, we went to the playground by East Side Lake.
Mower County, where Austin is located, is perhaps the only county in Minnesota's Land of 10,000 Lakes that does not have a a natural lake. But Austinites, being the inventive folks they are (they invented Spam, didn't they?), made their own lake. It's not very big, but it gives the town a pretty look.
The lake is basically on the edge of town. It's not in a forest, or in a pretty, secluded area, so I never expected to see a pelican lounging around on it's shores.
In fact, I couldn't believe the girls and I were seeing a pelican in good, old Spam Town, with semis roaring by on I-90, just a few dozen yards away.
When he took off skimming across the water, and flew off to the other side of the lake, I estimated his wing span to be about 10 feet. My mom's bird book confirmed that the white pelican's average wing span is 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 feet.
The pelican looked all white when he was standing on the rock, but when he unfurled his wings, you could see the beautiful black feathers on the tips of his wings.
It was hard to get a good shot of him, as the wind kept shifting the frond of the weeping willow that grows along the shoreline.
My camera wanted to focus on the weeping willow branches in the foreground, and not the pelican in the background.
My nieces were in awe of the big white bird, and so was I!