Tag Archives: Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican Over Surf

There was a lot going on at Bird Key and it was hard to focus on just one bird. The boat was moving, many of the birds were moving and every which way, the water was moving…you get the idea.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

I did follow this one Pelican flying along the shore, hoping to see him land.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

He flew over another Pelican frolicking in the surf and past some Laughing Gulls.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

The Pelican in the water started flapping like he was going to take off.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

I’m not sure now if this was the flying bird settling into the water, or the flapper who just sunk back down for some more spa treatment from the surf.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

Bird Chaos at Bird Key

Hundreds of birds nested on Bird Key this summer and the land and sky were full of activity on this July day.

Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve

Most of the birds on land seen here are Brown Pelicans, the smaller white ones are chicks. The chicks were awkwardly walking, but not yet flying.  There were lots of Laughing Gulls that provided constant noise, and a few White Ibis mixed in.

Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve

On the outer edge of the island, the open Atlantic Ocean beyond, a sand bar has formed that was popular spot for preening.

Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

Brown Pelicans Off Duty

On our way out to Bird Key to see the Brown Pelican chicks we spotted several small groups of adults flying to sand bars.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

According to our guide the adults assign a baby-sitter Pelican at the rookery then find a place to rest.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

They certainly picked a beautiful, if sparse, location.

Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans

From a boat, Kiawah River, Charleston County, SC
July 12, 2021

Brown Pelican Chicks On the Beach

These are a few more images of Brown Pelicans chicks showing the chicks interacting, very awkwardly.

Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks
Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks

Adult Brown Pelicans are somewhat awkward on land, and if you notice the feet you can see why.

Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks
Brown Pelican Adult and Two Chicks

 

As previously mentioned, I regret I didn’t use a higher shutter speed to offset some of the bobbing boat motion. The images are over-sharpened somewhat to try to make up for that, but I wanted to share them for the seldom seen chick behavior.

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

 

Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed

Ted and I went on a guided boat adventure today that included watching juvenile Pelicans at Bird Key Stono Seabird Sanctuary, a significant nesting habitat for seabirds and shorebirds.

Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent
Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent

Taking pictures from a bobbing boat is a challenge and I regret I didn’t use a higher shutter speed. The chicks are very awkward walkers and not yet flying

Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent
Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent

Brown Pelican chicks feed a lot like the herons, with the young reaching down into the adult’s throat to get food, not the mouth pouch which is used to catch food.

Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent
Two Brown Pelican Chicks Getting Fed By Parent

Bird Key, not much more than a sandbar, is a barrier island that sits in the mouth of the Stono River, between Kiawah and Folly Islands.

Black Skimmer and Brown Pelican

I had been watching this Black Skimmer work his way around the inlets at Shem Creek at low tide.

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

I suspect he had a nest nearby as after this pass he took his catch out into the mouth of the creek…

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

… caught up to…

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

…and passed a Brown Pelican.

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

He disappeared from my sight. The Pelican stayed his course, gliding the whole time.

Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican
Black Skimmer Flying by Brown Pelican

Land and Turn

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!

Brown Pelican Landing
Brown Pelican Landing

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 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