Category Archives: Water Birds

Cormorant on the Hunt

One of the neatest things I observed on my recent trip to Florida was Cormorants feeding.

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

This pond had a deeper channel near the edge and I had an obstructed view into the water, which was quite clear. I was amazed at how fast they can swim.

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

Zoom!

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

And pop back up.

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

I watched two birds make several passes in front of me. Once there was a prize, complete with some vegetation.

Double-crested Cormorant with Fish
Double-crested Cormorant with Fish

American White Pelican Coming In

American White Pelicans have a nine foot (2.75 Meter) wingspan. They are surprisingly graceful and I watched many of them fly over a pond and land on a sand bar. Evidently only I was impressed; the other occupants of the sand bar never even looked up.

American White Pelican Landing
American White Pelican Landing

As he turned you can get a feel for how large these birds are in comparison to the Ring-billed Gulls,

American White Pelican Landing
American White Pelican Landing

and the Cormorants standing around.

American White Pelican Landing
American White Pelican Landing

Once they hit land they tended to strut along a bit, quickly blending in with the rest of the gathering.

American White Pelican Landing
American White Pelican Landing

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
December 24, 2019

Brown Pelican, Where Is He Going?

Watching and learning to predict behavior goes a long way in bird photography. I saw this Brown Pelican coming in low over the water and was sure he would skim by right in front of me.

Brown Pelican Flying In
Brown Pelican Flying In

Nope.

Brown Pelican Flying In
Brown Pelican Flying In

He pulled up and landed on a dock piling.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

The Pelican’s big feet managed to hold on the piling cap, but he didn’t look too comfy.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

Single White Pelican

American White Pelicans tend to feed in groups, probably gaining an advantage of any fish their neighbor stirs up. This fellow swam away from the group into a spot where the fall colors from the tree line reflected in the shallow water. I believe the rougher water beyond the bird is deeper and has some flow as it heads into a canal.

Fishing White Pelican
Fishing White Pelican

His feeding style was more scooping along the water surface, and less plunging of his full head.

Fishing White Pelican
Fishing White Pelican

He seemed to be successful.

Fishing White Pelican
Fishing White Pelican

Goofy Birds

A Great Blue Heron took a stroll in front a Wood Stork and small flock of American White Pelicans.

White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron
White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron

He was oblivious to the photo-bombers beyond him.

White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron
White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron

The “big gulp” has got to make some noise, but the Heron was not diverted.

White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron
White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron

Interestingly, the Wood Stork and Pelicans were feeding steadily but the dozen or so Great Blue Herons around this area weren’t showing any interest in food.

White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron
White Pelicans, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron