Pelicans don’t look that agile, but you can see by the landing trail in the water that this fellow executed a 90 degree turn as he was hitting the water. I suspect he saw something for lunch!
We are on day two without internet service but I can log into WP admin with our spotty cell phone data service. I found this post in my drafts from February 2018. I have no idea what my plan for it had been but this seems like a good time to finish the post. I’m still amazed at the way Pelicans can fly and dive.
Brown Pelicans are fascinating to watch in flight, so graceful yet so prehistoric looking.
I thought this one was going to land and try to catch a fish. He dropped his feet.
But then he tucked them in as he glided over a school of jumping fish.
Fooled me again.
Brown Pelicans eat by either diving into the water and scooping food into their beak/pouch or sometimes by bobbing on the water and snatching up a fish, not by picking it up with their feet–I’m not sure what he was up to here.
Then it was landing gear up and away he went down the river, no lunch.
The rookery islands do not rise much above sea level which is one of the reasons the Brown Pelican nests have a low success rate. Over wash from storm driven tides can and has easily wiped out whole colonies on this and other barrier islands.
The bird chaos was amazing with numerous species in addition to the Brown Pelicans using the island. Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and Laughing Gulls were well represented.
This view is the sea-ward end of the island, with the shore crowded with Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls. The island down to the low tide mark is a protected preserve.
Shore access is not allowed during nesting season; these images were all taken from a boat at a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second to help compensate for the boat movement.