A flock of American White Pelicans was standing in a line as the sun came up over this shallow pond. The water was not deep enough for them to dive for fish so I was expecting them to take off any minute to look for breakfast.
I positioned myself to hopefully catch them taking off. Instead, they quietly preened as a few Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks did the same.
They moved very little in the 90 minutes I was at this pond. Unfortunately they didn’t like it so much that they had repeated this routine when I returned a few days later.
We had seen a few White Pelicans in the air earlier in the morning so weren’t too surprised to see them resting on the ground at the edge of a pond and happily stopped to see so many. They were quite a distance off the road but there was a clear view and I would say there were at least two hundred birds.
A number of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were sprinkled around the periphery of the group, including this group looking like a police line up.
Most of the Pelicans were preening or resting. A few Coots were going about their business in the water around them.
One daring Great Egret landed right in the middle of small group of Pelicans. The Pelicans took no notice.
Photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 2/21/2018.
A fellow photographer spotted the Pelicans at quite a distance when we stopped to view some ducks along Black Point Wildlife Drive. We watched them approach for what seemed like several minutes but probably was only 30 seconds, hoping they would land in the pond in front of us.
Instead they treated us to an amazing aerial ballet, with the birds shifting position in the group, breaking apart and reforming, in an elegant flight display.
The American White Pelican is one of North America’s largest birds, with a wingspan from 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters)!
As they glided by I could see that the individual birds adjusted their altitude as well as their flock position and no matter how close they got to each other there was no evidence of an in-flight bump.
Photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.