Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

June 6, 2012

Desert Pelicans

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 4:26 pm
Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC 20E (2x), ISO 800, 1/2500th second at f/8

Most people associate pelicans with coastal locations, like Florida and California. I know I did before moving to the Sonoran Desert here in central AZ. But I’ve learned that both species of pelicans that occur in the United States can be seen even in the Phoenix, AZ, metro area.

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC 20E (2x), ISO 800, 1/2500th second at f/8

Brown Pelicans show up in small numbers in scattered locations every year and are considered to be young birds dispersing or exploring in their first year. Some of these young birds appear near starvation and sometimes get rescued for rehabilitation and return to the coast near San Diego. The bird in these two photos looked and acted very healthy to me when I watched it fish at Tempe Town Lake on the afternoon of March 3, 2012. Brown Pelican has shown up at this location each year for a few years now. This bird was photographed from the footbridge across west end of the lake while observing a rare Red-necked Grebe out too far for decent photos.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Nikon D70, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC 20E (2x), ISO 250, 1/400th second at f/11

American White Pelican isn’t as regular around Phoenix but I have managed to see them here on numerous occasions. This one in flight was seen in Chandler, AZ, on January 1 of 2005 (along with a couple others) around a number of small ponds near a large apartment complex. I was fortunate to get this low flyby shot while I was working some dowitchers in a small pond.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Nikon D200, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC 20E (2x), ISO 200, 1/1250th second at f/5.6

I’ve even found this species on one occasion at the Gilbert Water Ranch where I spend a lot of time photographing birds. This was the morning of September 18 in 2008, and this pelican didn’t stay around for even an hour.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Nikon D200, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC 20E (2x), ISO 200, 1/1000th second at f/5.6

I had t shoot through some pond-side vegetation which ended up giving the image some green color.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Nikon D200, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC 20E (2x), ISO 200, 1/1500th second at f/5.6

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