Friday, July 01, 2011

Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron, Mystery Bird, and a Pile of Pelicans All in One Place.

I got a call from old school chum Mark Scarborough, currently a reporter at the Edgerton Reporter newspaper, that some folks had come into the newspaper office and said there were a whole lot of pelicans, yes you read it right, pelicans over in Sheepskin Pond, (see the little pale spot on the far side of the pond) and he should go and take their picture. In fact they were way way over on the other side of Sheepskin Pond and he wasn't at all pleased with his photo.


Pelicans in Wisconsin? Isn't that weird?

Well actually no, as it turns out. The American White Pelican, Pelecannus erythrorhynchos, does hang out in Wisconsin. Who knew? I obviously should spend some time reading the state bird list.

And not only had Mark seen the pelicans he's seen a Great Blue Heron and an Eagle all in the same area.

Gosh, guess I better get in the car now.

And there they were-- a great pile of preening pelicans.

Fascinating. And besides that...

Closer but not close enough a beautiful pair of somethings....

And look carefully where the green goes to beige on the far shore and it is a Great Blue Heron cruising past.

I get back to the pelicans and one of the big guys behind the bushes does a stretch.

See the varying degrees of dark patches on some of the pelican's heads? Those are the immature birds. Were they even younger their beaks would be grayish as well.

Now and again during all this busy preening, a wing pops up. Their wingspan is huge-8 1/2 to 9 feet.

The Eaglets are off the nest and I got several reports, one sighting myself above, of smaller birds giving chase after the fledglings where ever they are and whatever they do. Somehow the smaller birds always know a young raptor when they see one and mob them mercilessly and constantly in a way they wouldn't with a mature bird.
(I know, I know the eagle is teeny but she is there heading into the trees.)

Back to the pelicans and the beginning of a pouch flap...

and there it goes.

One of the previous pair at rest. Any ideas out there as to what this is?

I missed it today but White Pelicans don't do the dive and retrieve of Brown Pelicans, these form a big U, swim along with their pouches in the water and scoop up minnows that have been concentrated in the area by their swim pattern. Maybe I'll catch it tomorrow.

Just goes to show, you never never know what any given day will turn up.

Donegal Browne