Oakwood owl querying
Pilgrims at the journey gate,
Whooo will pass this night?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pelicans and Cormorants

Sunday it was a clear blue sky day and Lorna and I were standing out on the deck when a vee of 11 pelicans flew over in perfect composition - 5 on one wing, 7 on the other. When I say "flew" it's a little deceptive, as that implies wings flapping. They drift, with 8 foot wingspans fully spread, subtly reacting to unseen eddies and updrafts, a slow white roller coaster floating through sky. As they went over our heads they were close enough that we could hear the soft whisper of the wind over their wings. It was stunning - the huge white birds against the blue sky. Today is a wet gray day. Birds on the water are easier to photograph. They give you time to go get a camera. The downside is, when you get done they are just white blobs of bird on gray water, not white feathered kites in the sky. 


Mimbres Man said...

I have tons of pics of pelicans, the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). Definitely one of my favorite birds these days.

Gunnar Berg said...

I've haven't seen more than a handful of Browns in my life, but I believe they are divers. The Whites are more fish herders. They get fish into shallow water and work them toward shore and when they get them enclosed they just dip their heads under and scoop them up. Today they're working together with the Mergansers, which are diving birds. I'm not certain how they work together, but they seem to have worked it out - same craft union I suspect.

Anonymous said...

You're right, the Browns are divers (and the most common here in north Florida) I rarely see whites this far north, they mostly live in south Florida! -Tony

Gunnar Berg said...

Tony, They nest locally here in Minnesota in large colonies and winter in the south, though I don't know, maybe some stay south over summer.