Saturday Snapshot September 19: Pelican Chaser

I’m a pelican chaser. Like those driving towards the eye of the storm, I drive and chase Pelicans from the ground, as far as the road can take me, which is not very far before they’re out of sight.

Unlike that of the storm chasers, my task is serene. From afar, I see the objects of my obsession. Distinctly, I can tell they are Pelicans and not Canada Geese, or Herons. I learned that the Great Blue Herons are solitary, but the Pelicans are gregarious. And as they fly in the sky, Pelicans come in droves and don’t fly the V formation as strictly as the Canada Geese. Since they are larger than the Geese, it’s usually quite easy to identify them:

The eye of the storm

It’s always wonderful to see a big bird fly majestically in the sky, never mind the baggy beak that looks a bit cartoonish:

The Pelican

So, instead of craning my neck to catch them in the sky, it’s always added pleasure to see a clan of them on the rocks in the river. They look so graceful, like umm… bathing beauties in a movie scene:

Bathing Beauties

I’d spent hours watching their movement, or the lack of it. They are serene, nonchalant, quiet and calm. I’d see them preening on end. Seems like that’s more important than feeding. Their sheer size is awesome. Look at that seagull in the lower left corner in this picture:

Preening together

I love their leisurely demeanour, not a care in the world… see how they yawn, looks like a most pleasurable pastime:


or playing with their flappy beak. Yes, they can turn it inside out:

Playing with the beak

or keeping up with the latest gossips:

Latest gossips

Or day-dreaming like Snoopy, as the WWI flying ace fighting the Red Baron:

Flying Ace

Don’t think they’re all cool and aloof, drowsed in oblivion. They are highly alert of the potential party crasher, like that time, two dogs approaching the edge of the water. They know when to fold, when to walk away. As for the Pelican Chaser, that’s the best time to capture some action:

Let's Scram

Haven’t we all heard it before: “Serenity is golden… But sometimes a few ripples are needed as proof of life.”

Just say’n …


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

22 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot September 19: Pelican Chaser”

  1. Since spending time in Florida the last couple of winters, I have developed a real fondness for pelicans. Brown pelicans are there year round, but the white pelicans are seasonal visitors… I could spend hours watching them!


    1. JoAnn,

      I’ve only seen the white ones here and they are beautiful. I suppose the brown ones look more like the Herons? Anyway, they are in migration mode. They’ll fly south soon I suppose, maybe to Florida. 😉


    1. readerbuzz,

      I haven’t either. I didn’t know what she was doing. I just snapped the photos and not until I uploaded I didn’t see exactly what she was doing. But sure looks like she’s flipping it inside out. They’re quite flabby, the bottom part. So, quite comical in a way.


  2. It seems the only pelican photos I have are the ones where they are a row of dots in the sky, so it’s a pleasure to see yours of them at leisure, being silly, and preening. That last action shot is terrific.


  3. We also have the brown ones year-round, but the white ones are here only in winter. They haven’t shown up yet — a sign that the cool or cold fronts aren’t yet strong enough to send them on their way.

    The brown look much like the white ones in terms of size, beak, and so on. There’s a difference in the way they fish, too. Brown pelicans dive for fish, but the white ones fish from the surface, scooping up dinner in their bill and then draining the water out. And there’s always a seagull around both sorts, ready to try and grab an easy meal — sometimes right out of the pelican’s pouch!

    The photos are great. They’re such fun to watch. I could spend hours!


    1. Linda,

      I’m glad we have the white ones here, in lieu of the swans, which I haven’t seen any, albeit I know there are some around. As the weather gets colder, they will all fly south to maybe your neck of the woods. Say hi to them for me. 😉


    1. Denise,

      O I think they’re elegant! 😉 Especially when they fly, they are majestic. I don’t get to see many ‘exotic’ birds here, so seeing the Pelicans can make my day.


  4. Arti they are gorgeous. I can see why you chase them! I’ve seen lots of brown pelicans at the ocean when I was a kid but never white ones. I had not idea yours were so large! That seagull really puts them in perspective!


    1. Stefanie,

      Glad you get the picture, the size contrast. Yes, they are gorgeous and very elegant I think. Interesting to watch too, although you’d want them to move a bit faster and change their posture more often. While I was taking these pics, another photographer made herself comfortable by sitting on the grass and looked like she was going to stay there a long while.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never seen a white pelican — these are amazingly beautiful birds. I love their big beaks — and how clever to turn them inside out! You must have had a magical time just watching them. And I appreciate the photo with the seagull for perspective. It’s all completely mesmerizing. Thank you for both the delightful commentary and wonderful visuals.


    1. Jeanie,

      And we only have white ones, how nice. I think their pure white colours make them look majestic. The next day I went back there and they were all gone. So glad I caught them in pictures. Now they might be heading your way. 😉


  6. Your photos of pelicans are superb. I do not see these birds around here, but we do see Canada Geese. I also like your writing accompanying your photos – and your quote is a propos. Then I started to hear a song when you said “They know when to fold, when to walk away.” And as Kenny Rogers in his song The Gambler, I was waiting for you to add …know when to run …!


    1. VB,

      Thanks! And yes, you got it. I didn’t need to write down any more lyrics except just these two, and there you go, resounding ripples were created in your mind. That’s just wonderful. For some reasons, Kenny Rogers’s song just came to mind as I was describing these beautiful creatures. Thanks for stopping by the pond. Always a pleasure to hear from you. 😉


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