American White Pelican Flying In At Blackwater NWR

These are from a past trip a couple of years ago in April. I was photographing a Bald Eagle when I noticed a lone American White Pelican heading straight towards me. I started photographing it and was shooting a series of images as it was coming towards me. It banked sharply and landed in the water. After it landed in the water I noticed a whole flock flying in from the side that was apparently following the lone Pelican. So I guess he was the leader of the group. The bright white Pelicans really stood out against the deep blue color of the water. Also you can see the lone American White Pelican was in Breeding Plumage with the fibrous epidermal plate on it’s upper mandibles about one third of the way up their bills. All images were taken with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a Canon 2X Teleconverter on a Canon 1D mkIII.

American White Pelican with in Breeding Plumage with the fibrous bump on upper bill
A small section of the Large Group that was following the lone Pelican .
A small section of the Large Group landing in the water that was following the lone Pelican .

16 Comments on “American White Pelican Flying In At Blackwater NWR

    • Thanks Greta! The more you photograph flying birds
      the better your flight images are! I also try to have at least a 1/250 sec shutter speed. Not always possible though! Also pan & follow the bird while you are photographing a series of images as it flies by. Thanks again!

  1. Wonderful shots of the pelicans, Reed, on what looked to be a glorious day. Blackwater NWR is on my list of places that I would like to visit and is “onl” a couple of hours away from where I live (111 miles according to Google Maps).

    • Thanks Mike! I think you would like Blackwater NWR! You never know what you will find to photograph! Usually there is a lot of opportunities for interesting photos. Only a few times we went when it was quieter than usual. Then I concentrated on sunrises, landscapes and sunsets which seem to be very colorful. The main areas are on the Wildlife Drive. Then there are a few walking trails off the Drive. Also down the road is Blackwater’s NWR Tubman Road Trail which is also interesting. If you want I can send you a pdf ebook I did on Blackwater NWR. In Spring and Summer it is also great for dragonflies.

      • Thanks, Reed, for the offer of the e-book. I sent an e-mail to your address that will give you my address. I am probably going to continue to limit my travels this spring, but maybe by the summer I will feel comfortable enough to expand my range.

      • Thanks Mike ! I will send you the pdf ebook by WeTransfer tomorrow! It is still a work in progress! One day I will have to do a final edit and finish it! It is almost done though. Being fully retired now I have to finish it!! I will also send you in another email “Images from Brigantine” my ebook on the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Oceanville, NJ. Which is finished. Thanks again! Reed

        Sent from my iPhone


    • Thanks for the kind words! It is always fun to be out photographing birds, especially a large group of them! Also the sound of their wings flapping as they get closer!

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