American White Pelicans

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day at another “local” (~45 miles away) conservation area here in Missouri. Although I had heard of this place a few times, I had never been there. With the kayak loaded in the bed of the truck, I left about 45 minutes before sunrise, reaching this destination just a few minutes before the sun peeked over the horizon. I quickly found that the kayak would not go in the water on this trip. There was plenty of water, but mostly open water in the numerous pools. This would not be the conditions needed to get close to the wildlife. So I left Rubber Ducky in the bed and worked from my tripod, on solid ground.

One of the reasons I came to this area was that a friend had told me that there were some American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) moving through the area during the spring migration. Upon arrival, I drove around several of the pools, with no pelicans to be found. So I settled in at one of the pools that looked promising for lots of waterfowl action. About 15 minutes after I set the tripod up, I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. Looking up, I saw a group of ~30 American White Pelicans flying low over me. My presence didn’t seem to bother them in the least. They flew a couple of flyby runs and then began landing in the water in front of me! Here are some of the many images I made of the pelicans yesterday:

 

American White Pelicans

 

American White Pelican

 

American White Pelicans

 

American White Pelicans

 

American White Pelican

 

American White Pelicans

 

You might have noticed the “raised vertical plates” on most of the pelicans’ bills. Adult pelicans develop these early in the breeding season; these are later shed. Another interesting fact about the American White Pelicans, and visible in a couple of these images, is that they tend to fly in tight groups and in a fashion I call “synchronized flying” where they seem to mimic the leader as the soar around the sky in unison. I have a lot more images of the pelicans and will share more in another post.

  

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