Friday, March 19, 2010

Lunch For A Pelican

The brown pelican is one of my favorite birds. They appear to be plain, but in the right light you can see that they are quite colorful, with white necks, yellow heads and those sky-blue eyes. The look odd and yet are graceful and stately. Watching a group soar along the crest of the waves makes one think of fighter planes in formation, dipping and rising together to commands we cannot hear.

They are also, as I mentioned in a previous post, the only pelican to dive for its food, and if you've never seen one dive, I can tell you it's quite a sight--their long beaks like spears, they twist and turn in the air, tucking their wings at the moment just before piercing the water's surface.

Unfortunately, that is not the series of photos I have here. No diving allowed in this pond. But there was what appeared to be a juvenile pelican floating around on the pond as I strolled the shore. At the east end, where I stopped to take pictures of the alligator, I noticed the pelican swimming, seemingly focused on something, towards the southern shore not far from where I stood.

The wind had been blowing from the north-westish, pushing waves against the south shore. I had noticed several dead fish there. I don't know if that's what this bird was after, but as he neared the shore, he struck at something in the water...

...then turned and swam back out of the reeds. Clearly there was something in his pouch, a rather large something.

He tossed his head back and I could see the shape of a fish, thanks to the back-lighting of the sun.

Here it is blown up a bit. I haven't the foggiest idea how they eat something that large!

As he lowered his head...

...the fish poked out one side. Ouch! Gives me indigestion just looking at it. Shortly after this he flew a short distance out into the pond and beyond my sight.

I am actually heading back to Florida this evening, will return Wednesday the 24th. My grandmother has asked me to help her clean out her house, take things to Goodwill etc and generally tidy the place up. I guess at 87 she is starting to look towards the end of things. I feel fortunate, at 43, to still have a grandmother, and I have a great deal of respect and admiration for her--she was never one to shy away from a challenge. She was a business owner, lived in Costa Rica for a spell--even though she couldn't speak a lick of Spanish--played tennis until she broke her wrist a few years back, and still bowls two nights a week despite failing eyesight and a bum right hand that has forced her to start bowling left-handed. She even bought and renovated an old school bus, ripped out most of the seats and installed bike racks for the bike club she formed back in the 80's.

So hopefully I will get back down to the beach and get some shots of a diving pelican. I won't be doing much if any hiking on this trip, so the rest of the Florida blogs will be from this past trip in February.


1 comment:

  1. Love your photos! They remind me of home. The pelican is the Louisiana state bird. I think you'd really enjoy a road trip that dips into the bayous. It's amazing! Your grandmother seems to be quite a lady. Much applause for all she's accomplished, still does. It can't be easy to wind down....You're a very caring granddaughter!