Thursday, June 28, 2007

Big Bird

Canon EOS 20D with EF 300mm - 1.4 tele extender @ ISO400 - f8 - 1/1500sec

This my friends is one big bird with a wingspan of 110 inches and with a overall lenght of 50 inches, are a impressive sight when observed up close as I found myself while shooting photos of these American white pelicans. I had left home at 6;15am for work so that I could stop on my way, at the Livingstone fish hatchery to check out the wetlands located there. I had parked my truck and with my camera in hand I made my way over to the wetlands. While walking along the pathway around the wetlands, I met a commuter on her bike headed to work downtown who stopped and informed me that there were pelicans on the pond over on the far side of the wetlands near the Bow river. I figured I better check it out and found them exactly where my new friend said they were and found the pelicans fishing in this pond. I shot a number of photos and headed back to my truck as work beckoned, but promising myself to return this evening.

Later in the evening I headed back over to Livingstone fish hatchery and found that the pelicans had left the pond and were now on the Bow where there were seventy-five pelicans fishing in front of the weir giving the impression of sentinels on watch. They are quite comical to watch as they stare intensely at the water watching for fish to be pushed to the surface by the flow of water coming over the weir. When ever a fish was spotted, all the pelicans would make a mad rush over to that spot trying to out muscle each other in their rush to be first to the fish. Of course only one pelican would end up with the fish and would quickly swallow it down. No sharing with this bunch.

American white pelicans arrive in Alberta in late April and being very social, group their nests together in colonies. They may use the same nesting site for many years. Pelicans have been observed as far north as FT Smith, NWT at a place called Pelican Rapids in the Slave River. Although quite clumsy on land, they are quite grace-full in the air as I believe this series of photos that I shot show. So if you find yourself with some spare time, head down to the weir and check out the pelicans.

Canon EOS 20D with EF 300mm - 1.4 tele-extender @ ISO400 - F8 - 1/180 sec

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