When I take pics of flying creatures, I do usually focus on raptors. However, every now and then I will train my lens on less aggressive birds. From ducks to pelicans and meadowlarks to egrets, small and large have all been captured by my camera. Here are some of my favorites from the past year.
A great egret and American white pelican share a pond and fish together. The pelican was actually annoying the egret greatly as their fishing styles are quite different.
Pelicans swim along constantly, dipping their bills and straining the water out to retrieve a catch. Great egrets are far more precise, holding motionless and then suddenly darting their head in the water and grabbing a snack.
Every time the egret would get something, the pelican would come over to check it out, ruining the egret’s technique.
Kind of a fun shot of an American white pelican in flight. Below and beyond are Mount Meeker and Longs Peak.
This was taken last week and as you can tell, there was a lot of snow up in the Colorado high country. This week has seen even more. That has delayed the traditional Memorial Day weekend opening of Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park until some point beyond.
I was tempted to say that they were lit by moonlight but in actuality, this was a bit of a happy accident. Taken in the full light of the late morning, I had my camera settings wrong resulting in an underexposed image. I almost deleted it but instead decided to darken it creating what I think is a nice edge-lit silhouette.
It always seems out of place to find pelicans in Colorado but I am glad these guys choose to hang out here during the summer. They are a bit goofy looking but also way cool and watching them fly is just awesome. It is hard to believe a bird so big can glide so gracefully. These four were hanging out at a pond in Weld County and had a nice little island all to themselves.
The last couple of days I was sharing pics of summertime visitors to Colorado that I expected to see soon. This was the next one I was going to share but instead of sharing a picture from last year, this is one from today – the first of the season.
There were, in fact, 16 American white pelicans at a small suburban pond and open space that I frequent. As cold as we have been here lately, they may come to regret their early arrival but I am happy to see them here.
From a month or so ago and the most recent time I got any pics of these big birds. There aren’t too many left here in Colorado as most have wisely headed south for the season (I wish I could follow!). They will spend their winter along the Gulf Coast and southern Pacific Coast then return in the spring. When they do, they become quite numerous and are easy to find on rivers, lakes and ponds along the Front Range.
“Go ahead. Hop in. It is safe.” 😉 An American White Pelican seems to be trying to convince a Snowy Egret that it would be okay to check out its mouth. Of course in fact Pelicans don’t eat Egrets but it did make for a pretty darned funny image. A good one for a ‘caption this’ contest. What do you got?
We spent our weekend at Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado, one of our favorite summertime spots. Certainly there was plenty of time playing in the water but my family allowed me some photo time too. Of course since my wife absolutely loves these massive birds, she didn’t mind too much.
Anecdotally, it seemed like there were more Pelicans there this year than we have ever seen in the 15 years we have been going there. Here, one that had swam close to our boat decided it was time to go and takes flight. So much fun to watch them. They may be a bit goofy looking but they are extraordinarily graceful flyers.
A first for me photographing these large, somewhat goofy looking birds. Taken near Cocoa Beach, Florida, it was quite entertaining to watch them as they patrolled the surf and shoreline.
My primary purpose there was family fun so these images weren’t taken until mid-morning when the light was kind of harsh. Nevertheless, it is easy to appreciate these coastal residents. I had hoped to get some shots of their infamous head-first dives into the water and while I saw a few do it, none did so close enough for me to get pics of the action.
These pelicans are a bit smaller than the American White Pelicans I see regularly here in Colorado. However, they are still sizeable with wingspans that can push close to five feet across.