Saturday Snapshot Aug. 27: Synchronized Swimming, Team Pelican

I don’t have to wait four years for another Olympics. A couple of days ago I caught sight of these Nature’s Athletes. From afar I could tell they were members of Team Pelican.

The Pelicans are a gregarious lot, their talents innate, every move graceful. They display their elegant team work in Nature’s open arena, effortless, in sync with each other. Here they are, full of bubbly camaraderie:

Comaraderie (2)

Remember a previous post where I saw them in the air, like squadrons of fighter jets; in the water, they form a tight-knit configuration as well. With that formation, they cooperate to surround fish in the water, scooping them into their pouches:

Inate talents (1)

What a beautiful idea: communal feeding. What you see here are snapshots. What I remember is a long video. I must have been there watching and snapping away for over a half hour:

Let's eat together (1)

Elegant synchronized swimmers in perfect harmony. Kudos to their Coach.

Synchronized Swimming (2)

Look at their sheer size in comparison to the gull behind them.

Sync Swim (1)

Sometimes you can get tangled up with minor mishaps. Wait up, guys, I’m a little stuck here:

Wait up 2

No worries. We’re Team Pelican. All for one and one for all; our bills as swords to pledge.

Bills as swords



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Saturday Snapshot July 23: Traffic Jam

I know my Air B&B (note the purposely altered name) is popular, with free meals, a pool, and all the natural amenities, but I’d never expected an aerial traffic jam with everyone arriving at the same time.

At first they looked like confetti in the sky from afar. Without a wide-angle lens I could only capture a section. Just imagine multiples of these:



With no reservations, I wasn’t expecting them or knew who they were. But I could tell they weren’t gulls. As they came closer, they turned into squadrons of fighter planes:

Pelicans 2

By now, I could see clearly – American White Pelicans, interestingly, converging from opposite directions:

Closer still

No reservations? No problem. Welcome you all!


Just make sure you leave a good review. And please make reservation next time.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


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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Saturday Snapshot July 26: Serendipity

It has always been one of my favourite words, serendipity. But now, I love it even more.

While birding in the woods a few days ago, I saw in the not too distant sky a huge bird slowly gliding. I remember two words conjured up in my mind: mythical, and mystical. I was trying to decide which one was more apt to describe my sighting. It looked like a crane or maybe a swan; my imagination at that instant had just gone haywire with excitement.

She (or he) glided gracefully, lowering and finally landing somewhere, disappearing from my view. With my stalking instinct automatically kicked into overdrive, I made a 400 m. dash and lo and behold, found a little stormwater pond behind a grassy berm, a pond I was not aware of before.

What I saw was magical. Swimming slowly on the serene water was this calm and solitary Pelican, a huge contrast to the exuberant paparazzo nearby, huffing and puffing behind the bushes:

Pelican 1I watched her quietly … preening:


Gulping down her lunch. She dipped her beak into the water and came up with her prey. I could see the shape of a fish in her large pouch; the next second it was gone, swallowed up whole:

Fish Gulping

After some time, she suddenly decided to take off. The following sequence was probably the most rewarding for any nature paparazzo:

Taking off 1

Taking off 2

Taking off 3

Taking off 4

Taking off

Taking off 5

Taking off 6

I later found out that the American White Pelican is one of the largest birds in North America. Averaging about 16 pounds, but some grow to as large as 30 pounds. They are among the heaviest flying birds in the world. Their 9-foot wing span, snowy white body and contrasting black wing tip give them their majestic look and graceful flight in the sky. They are gregarious, hanging out in groups.

That’s why I love my serendipitous find even more, a solitary Pelican, quiet and serene, and not along the ocean shore, but right in my neck of the woods at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted. In addition, this is also a Weekend Reflections post. CLICK HERE to see other reflections.

All Photos on this post are taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, July, 2014.