Revenge at Jurrassic Park
Between the extremely hot weather and a sudden spike in gasoline prices October was on a whole a dismal month. I was finally able to get out towards the end and was rewarded with a special treat. I have to measure in years the last time I was able to photograph White Pelicans but there it was bigger then you know what, a pair of American Whites cruising down a waterway during an extreme low tide which I had also not seen in a long while. Even during the good times I would usually only see the occasional White mixed in with a bunch of Browns. I heard that the day before there were about two dozen of the huge birds in the very spot I had just been. I made my business and took off North. Further down the trail at another clearing I happened upon the balance of the Pelicans, really only about ten or twelve but still something I never seen before, never so many White Pelicans at one time.
I have learned a lot about bird behavior since I had last seen these guys and the very first thing that hit my mind was how much larger than the Browns they were. With out checking I would say they are about one to two feet longer wingspan, up to ten feet, and about one to two pounds heavier. The Brown is the smallest of all pelicans and the White towards the largest so the difference is noticeable. The other and probably as dramatic a difference is the way they feed. Remember the Brown is the only pelican that dives into the water to feed. The others, including the White, just float on the water like a swan popping their heads in the water from time to time and swallowing what ever comes up. Several moments had the big birds flying by me just above eye level. Deep into the olden hour I was able to make some pictures that made up for the entire month. The funnest moment of the day was watching the two species interact, or rather co-exist. The Whites hanging out in groups literally herding the fish popping their heads in and out of the water and taking off every few minutes to stretch their wings and the Browns buzzing right by them just off the deck and splashing almost tumbling into the water to grab a fish. Such a contrast but each with its own air of elegance.
Thanks for stopping by and until next week – Be Good.