Thursday, May 15, 2014

79 Inches of Brown Beauty!

Whew--yesterday's North wind just about blew me away while out on an all-day birding trip.  I was hoping to reap a lot of migrants with the probable last north-wind day, but seems the birds were smarter than me and knew not to be out in it.  It was a great day though.  We'll see if my Sora and other pictures come out in focus, as I was a walking sail!

In Tuesday's blog I shared photos of the Brown Pelican in the role of victim; harassed from those thieving gulls! (Interspecific Kleptoparasitism, yes?)

Today I wanted to share a few more photos that emphasize the powerful beauty of this incredible bird, almost driven to extinction during my childhood years, from our nation’s use of DDT as a pesticide.  (DDT caused the Brown Pelican’s eggshells to be so fragile that the eggs would break, and no young were hatched.) 

I remember many years when Brown Pelican sightings were a rare event.  Today I delight in their comeback and the fact that they will gladly welcome you to the Texas City dike, year round. 

Soaring ribbons of Brown Pelicans grace the beginning of the dike.  If I call these pelicans clumsy-looking divers when fishing, I’ll also call them the most elegant of winged Ones.

Feeling stressed or out-of-sorts?  Sit and watch Brown Pelicans fly just above water-level, with those long wingtips almost touching the water.  Peacefulness is but one result when watching their graceful beauty.

As a size comparison, you’ll remember Monday’s blog, when I shared my excitement and photos of sighting a soaring Magnificent Frigatebird. As described Monday, the Frigatebird has a wing span of 90 inches.  But due to the Frigatebird’s soaring height in my photos, you may not have thought those wings looked so impressive.

So I thought I’d share these close-range photos, taken that same day as the Magnificent Frigatebird photos, of the 79 inch wing span of a Brown Pelican.  The Brown Pelican and Magnificent Frigatebird are cousins within the grouping of families called Pelicaniformes.

At 8.2 pounds and with a 79” wingspan, these Brown Pelican photos help me visualize what a 3.3 pound, 90 inch wingspan Magnificent Frigatebird might look like, at close range.  Mind blowing!

As a side note, I always find Brown Pelicans a challenge to photograph.  They will tolerate a gull on their head or back, but they will have nothing of a human coming in close to photograph them.  And their color and prehistoric face always challenge my camera’s settings.  But other than that:

How about these photos for 79 inches of Brown Beauty?  (as always, click-on photos to enlarge)

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