Pelicans seem to be common in recent photos, probably because they’re both migrating and adorable. Reader Joe Dickinson sends us photos of two species; his notes are indented:
Here are some photos from a recent camping trip up the California coast north of San Francisco.
At Bodega Bay, I was photographing some American white pelicans (Pelicanus erythrorhynchos) in a typical in-line feeding formation when I noticed a flight of brown pelicans (Pekicanus occidentalis) coming up the bay. Since these two species are seldom found even on the same body of water (the whites typically are inland and the browns along the coast) I thought it would be cool to catch the browns flying over the whites. Well, that shot was hopelessly blurry but some of the browns proceeded to circle and land right by the whites, so I was able to get several nice side-by-side comparisons.
JAC: Why the in-line feeding formation? Are they herding fish or something?
Here are some whites coming in for a landing, nicely displaying the striking black primaries that are hidden when they are down on the water.
And at Bodega Head, a mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is nicely silhouetted against the sky.
Further up the coast at MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg we found another oddity, at least in my experience. On one specific rock that we walked by several times, we never saw fewer than a dozen black American oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani). Interestingly, we had visited the same spot two years ago and noticed the same thing – always large numbers of oystercatchers on exactly the same rock.
Below are two clusters of six birds each seen at the same time on different parts of the rock. A third similar cluster did not photograph well, but there were at least 18 individuals present at once.
Here, from two years ago, I count 25 individuals.
Here is a closer view of a single bird from a few years ago south of Santa Cruz.
And one more mammal, this time a California ground squirrel (Citellus beecheyi) on the cliff top near oystercatcher rock, silhouetted against the ocean.