Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For the Lack of a Camera

Normally I wouldn't advocate peering out your side window (instead of watching the road) while driving. However, on my way to the Nature Centre after lunch today, I had a pair of White Pelicans flying along at treetop level. Considering the trees are growing up from the level of the river bank, that put the birds basically at eye level for me. They were easily keeping pace at about 40 km/h for a few hundred metres. Maybe they were racing.

Anyways, I had no camera with me and even if I did, even I wouldn't try the photography/driving combination.

The pelicans we have here are apparently younger, unattached males who live separate from the breeding colony that migrates farther north. They're basically teenage boys. They've got the size and colouration of the adults but none of the social skills.

And, they're big. Last week I sat in a kayak and was within a paddle's length of Bald Eagles, swooping down out of the trees to grab fish from the ocean. Trust me, Eagles are big. They're a significantly huge bird. However, these adult-sized Pelicans are another thing altogether. With a body that's double the size of the eagle and a wingspan that can be up to a metre longer, these are massive animals.

And yet watching them glide up and down the river, pivoting tightly within the confines of the banks and trees and then gently touching down on the water, they're incredibly graceful. If you have a chance to spend some time near the river over the next few weeks, bring your binoculars and your camera. They'll probably be gone in a month or so; migrating back to the Sea of Cortez, the Baja and the Gulf of Mexico for the winter.

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