Over the river....
I know its Christmas time when the Brown Pelicans return and fly over the river. Guess who I saw this past week? What Christmas traditions do you have? In North America we often envision eight reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. This notion originates with an 1823 poem called A visit from St. Nicolas. In Louisiana Papa Noel has eight jolly green alligators “a pullin da pirogue”. In Alaska some envision those beautiful huskies pulling the sled. There are no reindeer in Africa. Wonder what traditions they have? Surely elephants can’t fly. Norse traditions of old had two flying horned goats pulling a sled with Thor, the God of Thunder that may have given origins to Santa and his flying sleigh. Well in Florida we have some unique traditions also and Pink Flamingos wearing Santa hats are just one. On the salt marshes we have eight Pelicans pulling a Jon boat and delivering Christmas cheer.
In one of my earlier blogs I introduced you to Tommy the Crab Fisherman. This time of year there are usually about a dozen Pelicans trailing Tommy as he runs his crab trap lines in the local rivers and marshes. I rowed up to Tommy on my Kayak one day and asked him if I could tag along sometime and photograph the Pelicans. He agreed and recently I had a chance to do just that. Tommy has been crabbing all his life, working sometimes six or seven days a week to make a living. He enjoys his life on the river. It’s hard work and at times the crab are scarce. Tommy sometimes has to then take other jobs to make ends meet. He would much rather be back on the river crabbing though. He told me stories of the many birds he has rescued from fishing line and plastic can wrappers. One day he found an Osprey hanging upside down entangled in fishing line, nearly exhausted to death. Tommy carefully extracted the line. The poor bird was too tired to fly and just sat there, happy the ordeal was over. That is the kind of man Tommy is. When he called to pick me up he thought there would be no pelicans but we gave it a try. At first there was only one, then two, and finally about a dozen Brown Pelicans were following us up and down the Broward. A few White Pelicans also joined the parade. I only took about seven or eight hundred photos.
Well whatever Christmas time traditions you enjoy, I hope and pray that the coming Christmas season will find you filled with excitement and happiness. I also hope you enjoy the Pelicans of the Broward as they go “Over the river” and that they put a smile on your face today while you sip your coffee. You can thank Tommy too. And remember the real reason for the season. Be Blessed. Harry