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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gathering of American White Pelicans on a sandbar on Sanibel Island.