Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brown pelican spa

I visited the bird rookery for a brief time last weekend. I and some paddling friends of mine were on our way to Camp Lulu for the night. We passed through the rookery at an early enough time of day to have some good light. Clear skies dominated and the south winds had not yet picked up as they would get to 20-25 knots later in the day. Egrets and pelicans were busy with their nest activities as usual. I noticed a few snowy egrets, but they are more difficult to find among the mangroves and big birds that dominate them. The snowys were definitely there in number because their distinct voices were heard clearly among the cacaphony of cormorant croaks and egret squacks. The snowys have this funny gurgling sound, quite amusing.

Since there were other paddlers and no time to hang out, I didn't anchor and had no intention of staying more than 20 minutes or so. Some adult brown pelicans were in the water near the nest islands. This meant that they were bathing, having a bit of spa, a reprieve from their nesting duties. This meant fun photo opportunities while the birds luxuriated in their baths. The pelicans splash their wings fully into the water with very rapid beats. The water spray is great as they continue this action for a few seconds, rest a few and start over again. it begins with a full head dunk and then the wings start flapping madly. With several frames per second, I can capture various positions and find some of them to offer exquisite feather display, like this one.

Enjoy these shots from the short visit with the brown pelicans.