It is summertime and that means one thing, well for me at least, pelicans in flight over the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The american white pelican is a summer resident to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, actively feeding on the carp and other fish in it’s shallow waters. I have personally seen groups of pelicans on the refuge in large pods searching for food which possibly numbered near a thousand birds. Quite a sight to see when that many birds are in one location.
Photographing pelicans in flight takes high precedence for me when I visit the bird refuge. In fact, many trips during the summer are devoted mainly in search of pelicans where I can get in flight and take off images of them. They are such graceful birds in flight and make for a superb subject to photograph. Photographing flying birds isn’t always an easy proposition but the american white pelican is one of those species where the beginning photographer can have some success in photographing them in flight. They are common and relatively easy to find where an in flight image can be obtained. Their large stature and size makes for a much easier target to focus on when in flight.
My favorite images are pelicans gliding very low above the water, just inches away from their wingtips touching the water. I am not sure how they can fly so low to the water and glide for such a long period of time between wing flaps but it does make for a very impressive image when it has been achieved. It is one of the pelican shots I do find the most difficult to obtain but I love the challenge. Usually when I find them they are in either take off or landing mode so the gliding behavior is one I don’t get to photograph very often but is one I always keep an eye out for in hopes of being successful.
It is summertime and even though the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge has some low water areas which has altered the patterns of the american white pelican feeding habits it is still a great time to visit the refuge to see it’s abundant wildlife. The american white pelican can still be found on the refuge during this low water period so make plans to visit the wildlife refuge and see what it has to offer in the way of bird watching, great scenery and quite often very dramatic sunsets.