Wednesday, May 14, 2014

City of Pelicans

I've been reading a book titled "Tales of Old Florida" and in it is a chapter titled "The City of the Pelicans". Here, the author describes his visit to Pelican Island, where he photographed hundreds of nesting brown pelicans in the year 1903. I compared his experience to mine and while there were obvious differences (i.e., camera equipment), what came across as being similar in our stories is how amazingly calm the birds appear when in the presence of an intruder with a camera.

It is because of this characteristic that I have accumulated many images of nesting pelicans, they simply allow me to do it. And while the birds have their natural habits that have become all too familiar, I never tire of watching or photographing them. With that, I was quite happy to visit the rookery for the first time this year on Mother's Day.

Overall, the year 2014 will probably go down as one of the most challenging and frustrating years for photography from a canoe. I usually make my first visit before April. The constant winds as well as non-weather related obstacles have kept me from the rookery up until last Sunday.

Despite the forecasted 15-20 knot easterly winds, I made the paddle over to the rookery as early as possible, arriving there about 7:15 am. Lighting was very challenging throughout the morning with cloud cover varying in thickness; sometimes the sun peeked out but then all too quickly went back under cover. I kept the flash on the entire time, something I do not enjoy doing. It is heavy and my track record with flashed shots is not so good. This is probably because I rarely use it for photographing birds.

At any rate, while both the great white egret and brown pelican were in great number, my attention was almost completely drawn to the pelican. I was not able to capture baby pelicans this time, but there was lots of parent birds flying in with nesting material. Not the best day I have had with the rookery, but a bad day at the rookery beats a good day at work, anytime.

Here are a few links to previous blogs on the rookery:
The brood reduction hypothesis
Learning to fly
Feeding the chicks
The freeze of 2010

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