A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

Well apparently the Asian Carp knows how to satiate the pelican and survive.

I was first introduced to the Asian Carp, an invasive species, at this year’s Wings of Spring.  This event is held every year at the Corps of Engineer’s wetlands, just opposite Alton, Illinois.  This wetlands adjoins the Mel Price Lock and Dam.  This is the first and the largest of the twenty-some locks that allow barges to travel up the Mississippi all the way to Minneapolis.  The pictures of the flock of pelicans featured in this post were taken that day in the shadow of Mel Price.  There were hundreds of pelicans there that day.

Just down river from the dam’s spillway was a line of fishermen.  Also along the bank were the scattered rotting corpses of Asian Carp that had been caught and left to die.  These were big fish, two to three feet long, with a thick body.  I asked one of the fisherman about them.  He explained, they were not very good eating, too greasy and bony.  The reason that the rotting fish littered the bank was that the Corps has asked all fisherman not to throw them back into the water after catching them.

I mention all this is because the Asian Carp is poised to invade the Great Lakes.  The Corps have found specimens that have jumped an electric barricade design to prohibit their entry into Lake Michigan.  This species threatens to displace indigenous species.  The Asian Carp is also a hazard to boaters.  This fish has the habit of careening out of the water when being passed by a boat.  It’s razor-sharp fins can cause deep cuts.  Just when you thought that it was safe to get back into the water.

I rode in the Park on Monday morning before work.  There was a little bit of fog on the low-lying grass fields.  This excess moisture in the air probably explains why my glasses were always fogging up.  I would stop to take a picture and by the time I got the camera out, my glasses had fogged.  Needless to say these conditions were not conducive to good photography.  I got fifteen miles.

Washington University’s ROTC was in the Park for PT on Monday too.  The men and women in their matching grey track suits looked so young.  I couldn’t help from staring as they jogged past me.  Afterwards I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before they graduated and after they graduated, how long before they are sent to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Leave a Reply