White Pelicans in Flight

#whitepelican, #pelican, #flying, #inflight, #wings, #sky, #howto, #nikon, #tamron
White Pelicans soar above Sanibel Island, showing their black wingtips. Their wingspan is the second largest for a bird in North America.

It’s certainly a challenge to photograph birds in flight. Your shutter speed must be fast enough (1/1000 second) and your depth of field sufficient to keep the birds in focus (f/20), as they won’t stop for you to capture your photograph. I used an ISO of 800 on a bright sunny day, to allow me to shorten the shutter speed and dial down the aperture. It helps if the birds are flying roughly parallel to your focal plane, rather than toward or away from you. And it takes practice. These beautiful birds look amazing as they come in for a landing, too.

3-2-1 — Contact. Back to the White Pelican Squadron on the sandbar.

The White Pelican says…

As the giant White Pelicans on Sanibel Island raised their wings and assumed different positions, I was poised to capture several close up photographs. Each pose seemed to call for a caption.

To me, it looked like the White Pelican was trying on an oversized dress. “Does this fit?”

The White Pelican’s reflection in the water makes a natural mirror.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to observe these beautiful migratory birds, who arrived from the northern United States in January.

“Honey, I’m Home!”

Sometimes do you just wish that when you walked in the door, your sweetheart would greet you at the door with a big hug and kiss? Or maybe just stop what he/she is doing and look up?

#whitepelicans, #pelican, #cormorant, #dingdarling, #sanibel, #sanibelisland, #florida, #birds, #birdphotography, #nikon, #sandbar, #wings, #wingspan, #attention, #pair, #sweetie, #valentine, #wildlife
Two American White Pelicans share the sandbar with a cormorant in Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve on Sanibel Island, Florida.

That moment, of wishing for for attention from your sweetie when you arrive — or land on the sandbar — came to mind as I watched these American White Pelicans come and go on Sanibel Island. These enormous migratory birds, averaging 16 pounds, have the second largest wingspan of all birds in North America, second only to the California Condor. This one may have wintered as far north as Wyoming, and now the squadron is enjoying the Florida sunshine and lots of fresh seafood.

As the White Pelicans landed and stretched their wings and then preened their feathers, I thought of so many captions, imagining what the body language seemed to say. (More White Pelican photos to come!)

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. May your sweetie look up when you enter the room!

One Happy Crowd

These White Pelicans can fly and float anywhere they like, but they all seem pretty happy to crowd onto a tiny sandbar, wing to wing with one another. This image shows only a third of the line of white pelicans gathered at J.N. Ding Darling Nature Preserve on a sunny Sunday morning.

#pelican, #whitepelican, #snowbirds, #white, #birds, #blueandwhite, #wildlife, #nature, #photography, #nikon, #tamron
Nature’s Way: Comfort and safety in numbers. A cozy morning on the sandbar in Sanibel Island, Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incoming White Pelican

Snowbirds from the Great Lakes region, these large White Pelicans are fun to watch, especially when they spread their wings to fly, soar over the Gulf and come in for a quiet landing on the sandbar.

It was a balmy morning on Sanibel Island, Florida today in the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Bird lovers cruised slowly in cars and on bikes, and perched themselves along the shoreline with binoculars and cameras. The highlight of the morning was when one of us would say quietly to his neighbor, “Incoming!”

#whitepelican, #flight, #bird, #pelican, #sanibel, #birdwatching, #birdphotography, #nikon, #tamron
Squadron of White Pelicans assemble on the sandbar in J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. February 4, 2018

Incoming !

First there were two American White Pelicans, preening their feathers in the morning sun. Then a large flock of sandpipers swooped in, silently.

#pelican, #whitepelican, #Americanwhitepelican, #sandpiper, #sanibel, #dingdarling, #wildlife, #refuge
Action: Dozens of tiny sandpipers flew in and landed near the White Pelicans.

Then, one by one, more white pelicans landed, so graceful with orange legs and wings outstretched.

#whitepelican, #Americanwhitepelican, #sanibel, #florida, #dingdarling, #wildlife #refuge, #wings
After a flock of sandpipers, three more American White Pelicans fly in to join the first two in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

White Pelicans of Sanibel

I was an early bird this morning, driving an hour from Naples to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge to photograph the American White Pelicans. These giant snowbirds only live here in Florida from October to April each year. I enjoyed watching them in the early morning sun. Nearby white ibis, great egrets, anhinga and sandpipers waded and fed in low tide.

#whitepelican, #pelicans, #florida, #wildlife, #snowbird, #morning, #sun, #dingdarling, #wildlife, #refuge, #birds, #florida, #sanibel
Gathering of American White Pelicans on a sandbar on Sanibel Island.