Posted by: atowhee | September 17, 2012


Our first evening in Monterey County, the PIB birding group got very close to a feeding frenzy near the mouth of Elkhorn Slough. Watching one at a distance is the usual, but this time we were close enough to hear the wings and the splashing.
We were so close because the feeding birds cam close to us on the shore. The flock included Brown Pelicans, Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants, Heermann’s Gulls, Elegant Terns. Nearshore the frenzy also attracted Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. Other gulls, Western and Ring-billed, ignored all the fuss as did nearby shorebirds.

It is common for any flying Brown Pelican to be shadowed by a Heermann’s Gull, waiting for the leavings of any fish caught by the bigger bird.

Pelican spotting fish.

This is the large Brown Pelican turning itself into a javelin during its dive. And here’s the more amazing thing, the pelican splashes down and goes completely beneath the surface:

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