Pelican Photos

Skimming Pelican
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Skimming Pelican

Have you ever seen a Pelican surf? On the land they seem a little comical, but in the air they are amazing. They often fly right along the surface of the water taking advantage of "Ground Effect" an aerodynamic effect giving more lift in close proximity to the surface. It makes sense that they would do this to save energy, but at times they move closer to the breakers, riding the front of the wave just like a surfer. They wait until the last moment to slip gracefully over the top of the wave as it crashes below all gliding without a flap. This evening I caught this guy skimming the surface, but as he slowly flapped he actually ran the tip of his wing through the surface of the water just like a surfer playing in the front of the wave with his or her hand. He wasn't being as playful as some in the breakers but he was very graceful and relaxed. It was a pleasure to watch him and his friends fly off into the sunset.


Gone Fishin'
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Gone Fishin'

This week was great for fishing, at least if you're a Brown Pelican in the Santa Barbara area. There are almost always pelicans feeding off the coast here, but there must have been some impressive schools of fish off of Butterfly Beach a few nights ago. The two Pelicans on the surface behind the dive bombers just surfaced from their dives and there must have been hundreds of attempts. If you look closely to the left of the photo you can see a nose sticking out of the water of what I believe must be a sea otter. But it's hard to say since I was paying so much attention to the Pelicans I did not actually see him until I looked at the photo.


Pelican Christmas
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Pelican Christmas

You have any idea how many fish I had to give him to get him to pose like that? He drove an especially hard bargain when it came to wearing the hat!

Merry Christmas!


Pelicans
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
Pelicans

These guys are always hanging out on Stearns Wharf. They are hilarious. They waddle around behind the fishermen waiting patiently for scraps. And, all the grace they lack on the ground, they make up for in the air. They glide in perfect formations any fighter pilot would be proud of which, by the way, they do to conserve energy. The lead bird in the V formation takes the brunt of the wind resistance. The others can slip more easily through the air. On long migrations they take turns at the lead.


Pelican Peak
Friday, February 4, 2005
Pelican Peak

"You ate my fish!! I can smell it on your breath!!"

Pelicans are pretty comical, they are as fun to watch as they are to photograph.