Swimming with a pelican

The water level at Topaz Lake is dropping rapidly. But here are two kids still jumping off the rope and into the water. Michael Peterson and Madison Meek were both camping here with their families from California. Madison was so brave; she climbed up the edge of the tree to get a higher jump out into the water.

One morning my daughter Jenee was swimming close to shore when a big white pelican came in for a landing right next to her. It was funny to see the pelican not afraid of Jenee and when it landed it came in with its feet out in front like skids or a water skier. This pelican swam back and forth for quite a few minutes before it decided to fly away, right when I was ready with the camera. Did you know that pelicans are better fishermen than we are? You can see them often at Topaz Lake with their bright orange bill. Sometimes they travel alone and sometimes in groups.

Topaz Lake also has a bird that hangs out by the restrooms called a barn swallow. They are small birds with brown chests and iridescent black back.

An adult can eat up to 800 mosquitoes a day. They don't even pay attention to us when we walk up to use the facilities. I asked the park ranger how I could order a few hundred barn swallows to set free in my back yard to help with the bugs, and he said, we already have them here in Carson Valley. Sure enough, the evening we returned home from this trip, I saw them at sunset darting around in the sky above my house. Now back to the mosquitoes, yes Topaz Lake has lots of them, even though they fogged the morning we went camping. I was a little concerned because of reading so much about West Nile virus. During our four-day trip to Topaz this week, we remembered to wear long pants, sock and shoes, and light-weight, long-sleeved shirts in the morning and evening hours. I also lightly spray our clothes with DEET. We did get a couple bites, so I hope the county will continue to fog the campground regularly. The worst part about camping, for me, are those darn mosquitoes. There is something about me they like because if there is one around, it'll find me. Just remember the bug spray. Happy camping and safe travels.

Do you have a special camping place you'd like to share with other readers? Give me a call.

n Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident and can be reached at 267-9350.


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