I oftentimes joke, “I don’t photograph “little birds” (meaning non-raptors) but in fact, when I get the chance and it doesn’t require too much patience. I do. 😉 Here is a look at my personal top 25 captures from my past photo year, everything from the tiny hummingbird to the massive pelican.
Kind of a funny capture from this past weekend. The action was pretty light at this lake in northern Colorado with lots of sitting and waiting. The pelicans did provide some entertainment with flybys but none quite as amusing as this one. I have never seen a pelican do this in mid-air before and have no idea why it did it. Perhaps catching bugs? Maybe had a hair in its mouth it was trying to get rid of?
When one bird catches a fish, it gets the attention of all in the area and such was the case here. Another cormorant had caught a fish so these two quickly took flight, hoping to either steal the other’s catch or in hopes there were more to be found. It was kind of fun to see the two contrasts in color and size as they flew low and fast across the pond.
Here in Colorado, if you see one of these species of birds, you are likely to see the other. They have a somewhat symbiotic relationship with both using the other to help spot fish. Oftentimes that does create rather calamitous scenes with both types of birds fighting over the same meal, something I have photographed and shown you before.
Yesterday morning, the scene was a good bit calmer. There were some rushes to get to the fish but generally, both seemed to enjoy a quiet spring morning on the plains, circling the lake. For me, I just pulled up a spot on the shoreline and sat and watched, enjoying the quiet.
This was a pleasant surprise yesterday as I came across a pod of 50 or so pelicans at a lake in northeastern Colorado. Given the 20-degree temperatures and breezy winds, most of them were quite intent to just hunker down on a small island. Only a couple ventured out into the water to fish but it was fun to see them and a welcome sign that warmer weather is on the way.
I always joke that I don’t photograph “little birds” because they are boring. That isn’t entirely true. While I may not focus on them regularly, when the opportunity is there I certainly will snap pics of them. They just require more patience than I have most times. 😉 Some, like hummingbirds, are a real challenge while the American white pelican is kind of goofy looking but just beautiful.
Quite an interesting scene at a local pond this week. Due to an algae bloom, the fish at this pond had suffered a massive die off. That drew the attention of many birds, none too shy to take advantage of the easy meal to be had.
The mid-afternoon sun was a bit harsh but it was fun to see so many birds in such a small area. The snowy egrets, in particular, were there en masse with probably 100 of them. Joining in were a dozen or more pelicans and some surprisingly cooperative black-crowned night herons.
A very fun sequence of pics that I took a few months ago but never shared. The American white pelicans were just returning to Colorado for the season and a bunch were hanging out at a local pond with the double-crested cormorants. After their long flight, all were very hungry and looking hard for a meal.
Any bird that caught a fish was soon besieged by the entire group as they looked to horn in on the action. At one point, the pelicans and cormorants congregated in one corner of the pond to fish. A cormorant caught itself a little shad and that was enough to catch one pelican’s attention.
The bigger bird’s attempt to steal the fish resulted in it’s monstrous beak entirely enveloping the cormorants head! I don’t know that either ended up with the fish but it certainly had to be a traumatic event for the cormorant. 😉
This was something I hadn’t seen before. Pelicans can definitely be aggressive in trying to steal a meal from other birds, usually choosing to go after cormorants. I had never seen one try to steal from a great blue heron though, let alone set off in pursuit of it in the air.
This heron caught itself a huge fish and no doubt was looking forward to the meal but the pelican had its eyes on the prize as well. The pelican chased it for a good ways and eventually the heron dropped the fish, living both empty handed.
Kind of a “content over quality” series as the pics aren’t the best with the action taking place a long ways away and not in good light but it was fun to see.
Yesterday I spent some time at a northern Colorado lake enjoying the crisp morning and a notable lack of wind (folks on the Front Range know how welcome this was). This beautiful summertime visitor to the Centennial State gave me a picture perfect flyby just as the sun was cresting over the horizon, illuminating it beautifully