Tag Archives: Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican Flyby

This Brown Pelican buzzed our boat on our way out to Bird Key Stono.

Brown Pelican Flying By
Brown Pelican Flying By

With a long steady swoop he caught up to us.

Brown Pelican Flying By
Brown Pelican Flying By

The local birds have learned that boats can mean scraps from fisherman/shrimpers.

Brown Pelican Flying By
Brown Pelican Flying By

He gave us the look then dropped into the water. Too bad for him that as bird watchers we had nothing for him.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

June 2, 2022

Brown Pelican Chicks

Ted and I went on the same guided boat adventure as last year to see the juvenile Pelicans at Bird Key Stono Seabird Sanctuary. This trip was much earlier in the young birds’ lives as they are still in the nests.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono

These pictures are taken from a bobbing boat; I did learn from last year and upped my shutter speed to 1/1600.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono

There are thousands of birds on this island right now, and as you might expect there were always some in flight. The parents have to go for food, and swoop in and out constantly.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono, Maybe a Cloudless Sulfer flying over

The chicks are still in the nests, which are collections of sticks/reeds, with the young being protected by an adult from the sun. As you can see in the center top a few are starting to move around.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono, Dragonflies

Laughing Gulls are also nesting here and were flying all over, constantly chattering.

Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono
Brown Pelicans on Nests, Bird Key Stono

June 1, 2022

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.

Brown Pelican – Just Touching The Creek

Experts at riding air currents, Brown Pelicans are mesmerizing to watch.

Brown Pelican Gliding Over Creek
Brown Pelican Gliding Over Creek

This section of Shem Creek has piers on both sides that seemed to block the wind and the Pelicans stayed very close to the water.

Brown Pelican Gliding Over Creek
Brown Pelican Gliding Over Creek

Occasionally one would graze the water with just one wing.

Brown Pelican Gliding Over Creek
Brown Pelican Gliding Over Creek, Pier on Opposite Side

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