Brown Pelicans

I was reminded several times this weekend that I’m not really a “SERIOUS” birder. While photographing shorebirds at Bottle Beach I asked another birder who’d just come from Westport if the Pelicans were there. Everyone looked at me rather incredulously, His reply was, “There always there.” All I could reply was that they weren’t there the last time I’d been in Westport, which was probably early Spring. The birders were all trying to see the rarely seen Hudsonian Godwit, but they were so far out that I knew I would never get a good shot even if I did see them so I quickly lost interest.

As it turned out, there were only a few pelicans at Westport, or at least only a few that flew by. I managed to get a single shot of a Brown Pelican still in breeding colors.

Brown Pelican

I was relatively happy with the shot even though it was taken at a considerable distance and wasn’t as good as shots I’d taken last Spring.

A little disappointed, I hoped to see some closer at Tokeland, where I was going to see the Elegant Terns that all the birders had been talking about online. I did manage to see a pair of Elegant Terns through a birder’s spotting scope, but what really caught my attention was a small flock of pelicans floating in the harbor nearby.

flock of Brown Pelicans floating

So, while all the birders were after the Elegant Terns I was gazing the other direction trying to capture shots of plain old Brown Pelicans circling,

Brown Pelican

suddenly turning straight towards me,

Brown Pelican

only to turn and land right where you’d expect, next to the flock resting nearby.

Pelican landing

I don’t need to spot rare birds; I never get tired of watching these pterodactyl-like birds just doing what they do.

2 thoughts on “Brown Pelicans

  1. I love watching them fly. They actually seem to do it for fun, skimming along the waves in groups. Unfortunately, sometimes one will skim too close and dip a wing into the wave and crash, breaking the wing.

    • You’ve obviously been watching even closer than I have, Dave. I’ve never seen one catch its wing before, though they must put a lot of pressure on those wings when they dive like they do.

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