Category Archives: Water Birds

American White Pelicans Feeding

Groups of White Pelicans tend to stick together when they feed, paddling along slowly and scooping up fish.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

No crazy diving antics like the Brown Pelicans for the White Pelicans, but they look just as goofy.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

This group followed the edge of the marsh reeds, which doesn’t make an attractive image¬†now that the vegetation has died back, but probably the fish like to be around the stems.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

These two kept going making a nice ripple in the water while the rest of the group turned back.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

Possession

I didn’t see the shrimp arrive or which gull had it first.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

The gull on the right was in hot and noisy pursuit when the possessor of the moment took to the air.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

Unfortunately the shrimp broke apart.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

Or not, if you are gull number two diving in for the recovery of what looked like the bigger piece.

Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp
Ring-billed Gulls with Shrimp

Skimming In The Surf

Previously I have seen Black Skimmers skimming on calm ponds. On this day I saw a few from this crowd doing it in the ocean.

Black Skimmers at Surf's Edge
Black Skimmers at Surf’s Edge

As you can see above the Atlantic Ocean surf was not particularly rough, but it sure is a different challenge for a Skimmer.

Black Skimmer Skimming past Tern
Black Skimmer Skimming past Tern

This one hugged the surf line, ignoring other birds along the way.

Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf
Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf, Sand Piper in Foreground

With the surf in constant motion he had to also alter his path. I did not see him catch anything, although they can gulp it down on the fly and keep on moving.

Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf
Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf

American White Pelicans Taking Off

A dozen White Pelicans were paddling back and forth across the back of this pond with a Great Blue Heron watching over them.

American White Pelicans in Pond
American White Pelicans in Pond

All of a sudden it was time to move on.

American White Pelicans Taking Off
American White Pelicans Taking Off

These huge birds make very little disruption as they take off. They can weigh up to 20 pounds (9 KG) and leave barely a ripple in the water..

American White Pelicans Taking Off
American White Pelicans Taking Off

Their effortless looking flight continued as they banked, turning towards another pond further into the old rice impoundment.

American White Pelicans Over Marsh
American White Pelicans Flying Over Marsh

White Pelican in Wood Stork’s Space

At first at seemed that the White Pelican had no interest in the Wood Stork as he casually paddled along.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

But as he got closer I began to wonder.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

Surely, the Wood Stork would have some kind of reaction.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

I wish I could have seen this from another angle–did the Wood Stork reach into the Pelican’s beak?

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

Whatever happened, the White Pelican decided to move on, continuing to make a little flap about it.

White Pelican and Wood Stork
White Pelican and Wood Stork

The Wood Stork continued to pay no attention.

11/19/2018 Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

Brown Pelican Take Off

Brown Pelicans have learned to gather where Dolphins are strand feeding. They’ve figured out that fish can’t be far off and may be available for poaching.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican at River’s Edge

I was watching this one as he artfully took off.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

And swooped out over the river.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

I didn’t realize until he turned and landed that I was missing a Dolphin strand feeding.

Brown Pelican Watching Dolphins Strand Feed
Brown Pelican Watching Dolphins Strand Feed

Anhinga Just Out of the Water

I caught this Anhinga as he was climbing out of the water onto an Alligator ramp. This waterway is a canal along the edge of an old rice field impoundment that attracts many fish eating birds.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Anhingas feathers are not waterproof which helps them to swim and hunt low in the water but also means they have to leave the water to dry off.

Anhinga
Anhinga

You can see the gular pouch extending below. Similar to a pelican’s pouch, this skin between the beak and neck helps the bird “open wide” and swallow much larger fish than you might expect.

Anhinga
Anhinga

I haven’t seen an Anhinga do this while drying off and am not sure what he was up to. I waited awhile to see, but like many of the water birds these fellows can spend a long time doing nothing and I lose interest or get distracted by something more interesting.

Anhinga
Anhinga