Monday, February 12, 2007

The Insouciant Pelican

Expect rains on Saturday, the weatherman predicted. When we woke up Saturday, Feb. 10th, it was indeed gloomy. So we resigned ourselves to stay at home and forego any plans to do any birding/photography. Just as we were finishing a somewhat leisurely breakfast, sunlight flooded our room. Cynthia and I both looked at the clock and then at each other. We have gotten to know one another over the past 3 years that oftentimes words are no longer necessary in expressing our thoughts. We hastily dressed and shot out the door lugging our camera gears.

We reached Bolsa Chica in record time. Not surprisingly, there were only a few people there. It was probably the threat of a downpour (there aren't any places to stay out of the rain there) that kept people from visiting. There weren't that many birds, too, although the species of the day were ducks. Finally, I was able to get better shots of the Blue-winged Teal. Northern Pintails were numerous. Funny birds, these pintails, because their butts would stick out of the water as they feed on plants beneath the surface.

When we arrived at tidal gates, we saw this Brown Pelican perched on the metal divider above it. It was unperturbed by the people who passed by and gawked at this big beautiful bird peering into the waters below. Even non-birders stopped and watched. Parents gave their little children an instant lesson in basic ornithology. It was perhaps the most photographed bird of the day. Joggers took pictures of it with their cellphone cameras. (Yes, it was that close!) I had to go some 30 feet away just so I can get the whole bird in my viewfinder.

The skies then began to darken, portent of a wet afternoon. We had our birding fix. Time to go home.

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