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Pelican

"I’m tell you, that fish was THIS big!"

I took the long way home from work one day last week hoping to happen across something photo worthy and I did. A small pod of American White Pelicans was hanging out on a pond and provided some nice photo ops (until someone using a cell phone camera insisted on walking right up to them).

The big guys returned to the Colorado Front Range over the past month and this was the first real opportunity I had to take pictures of them. Best of all, as this image shows, they were quite animated giving me a lot of cool captures. Taken at the Adams County Fairgrounds, Colorado.

American White Pelicans seem to be having quite a conversation at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

American White Pelicans seem to be having quite a conversation at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American White Pelican that didn’t get the memo

By now most of these massive birds have headed south for the winter but clearly not all of them. A few stragglers are still hanging around the plains of Colorado including this one. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo? I didn’t see it until the very last minute and only managed to squeeze off a couple of pics of it yesterday.

An American White Pelican flies across a clear, blue Colorado sky.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican flies across a clear, blue Colorado sky. (© Tony’s Takes)

American White Pelican soars with ease

While driving today I saw a pod of a dozen or so of these large birds flying overhead and while I didn’t any pics of them then, I figured I would post an image of one from back in March.

This time of year these birds are looking to move south to warmer conditions, then they were just returning to Colorado for the season.

American White Pelicans spend their winters along the Gulf and southern Pacific coasts as well as in Mexico. Springtime sees them move north with many going to Canada and the northern plains but some choosing to stop part way and spend the summer in the Centennial State, northern California and a few other spots.

Graceful flyer over the water

While they may not be the prettiest of birds, American White Pelicans are one of the most beautiful birds in flight you could hope to see. Their massive wingspan allows them to fly with ease and glide for amazing distances without a flap.

This particular one was showcasing its ability over a lake in northeastern Colorado by maintaining a low altitude just about the water’s surface.

American White Pelicans spend their winters along the Gulf and southern Pacific coasts as well as in Mexico. Springtime sees them move north with many going to Canada and the northern plains but some choosing to stop part way and spend the summer in the Centennial State, northern California and a few other spots.

An American White Pelican flies with east over the waters of Jackson Lake, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican flies with east over the waters of Jackson Lake, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pelican dances on the shore

Frank demonstrates his soft shoe routine for others in the Pelican pod. 😉

The lake I was at this past weekend has seen an increase in the population over the last couple of summers – at least it seems so. That means plenty of photo ops with them including this one where there were about 25 of them hanging out along the shoreline (and probably 75 more in other spots in the area).

I’m not entirely sure what the show off in this picture was. He was standing there still but for whatever reason seemed compelled to do a little routine for others.

An American White Pelican seems to be dancing on the shore of a lake in northeastern Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican seems to be dancing on the shore of a lake in northeastern Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Formation flying Pelicans

I was actually observing a different kind of wildlife on Saturday when I saw these three big birds approaching. Needless to say, they quickly got my attention.  While they may be a bit goofy looking, they are such amazingly graceful fliers, especially for their size.

American White Pelicans spend their winters along the Gulf and southern Pacific coasts as well as in Mexico. Springtime sees them move north with many going to Canada and the northern plains but some choosing to stop part way and spend the summer in the Centennial State, northern California and a few other spots.

Three American White Pelicans fly in formation in Jefferson County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Three American White Pelicans fly in formation in Jefferson County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Frank did not appreciate people making fun of his bad hair day

This American White Pelican did appear to be a bit grumpy on this day, perhaps because its hair just wasn’t working. 😉 In truth, there was a slight wind from behind it as it swam toward me making it look a bit like Dr. Brown from Back to the Future or perhaps Kramer from Seinfeld. Taken at St Vrain State Park, Colorado.

An American White Pelican looks to be having a bad hair day at St Vrain State Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican looks to be having a bad hair day at St Vrain State Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pelicans patrol for a meal

After being cooped up due to cruddy weather this past weekend, on Monday I was desperate to take some pictures and get outside. Mother Nature was kind enough to oblige with five handsome subjects along my drive home.

Five American White Pelicans were fishing in a small pond, no doubt happy like I was to have warmer weather. They largely ignored me, swimming around and submerging their massive beaks in the water occasionally trying to catch a meal.

These Pelicans spend their winters along the Gulf and southern Pacific coasts as well as in Mexico. Springtime sees them move north with many going to Canada and the northern plains but some choosing to stop part way and spend the summer in the Centennial State, northern California and a few other spots.

American White Pelicans do some fishing in a pond in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

American White Pelicans do some fishing in a pond in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

How low can you go?

How low can you go? For this American White Pelican, clearly very, very low. In fact, the massive bird glided above the water like this at about an altitude of six inches for 100 yards or so! It was quite an impressive display. While these birds may look a bit awkward, they are in fact some of the most graceful flyers you will ever see.

Taken at Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado.

An American White Pelican glides with ease mere inches above the water's surface. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican glides with ease mere inches above the water’s surface. (© Tony’s Takes)

American White Pelican performs aerial dive to catch breakfast

A very cool and unusual series I captured a couple weeks ago of this massive bird.

These pelicans typical fish by swimming slowly, oftentimes in groups, dipping their massive bills into the water to catch fish. This one however used a skill more often associated with its cousin, the Brown Pelican – something called plunge diving.

It patrolled from the air and upon seeing its prey, dove into the water head first and snagged itself a very nice sized catch. I’ve never seen a white Pelican do this before. Pretty darned cool! I was fortunate enough to capture the whole sequence from the air to the swallow – 20 images in total. Scroll down to view them all.

Taken at Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado.

With its prey spotted, an American White Pelican prepares to dive. Scroll down to view the complete series. (© Tony’s Takes)

With its prey spotted, an American White Pelican prepares to dive. Scroll down to view the complete series. (© Tony’s Takes)