When no one is looking, it’s okay to scratch your butt, right? 😀 I couldn’t resist but this American white #pelican seemed to take advantage of the fact his cormorant buddies were sounds asleep.
Definitely not your hoped-for warm, spring day here on the Colorado Front Range today. We saw a bit of snow and temps have remained below freezing. That of course didn’t stop me from getting my photo exercise.
I happened across a huge gathering of 40+ pelicans at the Adams County (Colorado) fairgrounds. They and Mother Nature gave me some cool shots between the snow, wind and fog.
This particular pelican separated from the group and the sun made a very brief appearance. It really lit up the bird beautifully. Converting to black and white added some drama and helps to make the snow show up.
My wife, a big pelican fan, loved the capture.
I have yet to come across a big gathering of American white pelicans this spring but I have seen some solos around. This particular one was enjoying a quiet morning at St Vrain State Park. The golden light soon after sunrise really lit it up nicely.
You’ll notice that big “bump” on the top of its bill. This is something this massive #birds get during breeding season. The rest of the year the top of the bill is smooth.
You know the seasons are changing when the American white pelicans return to the Colorado plains. I saw the first at a distance a couple of weeks ago but last weekend, another gave me a nice flyby.
I am always amazed at how graceful these huge birds are as they soar and that white plumage is beautiful, especially when set against a typically clear, deep blue Colorado sky.
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.