Some Pelicans and “F” stories voting reminder

Let’s get this out of the way . . . if you’ve read them, the writers hope you voted for your favorite of the “Alphabet Challenge F-Stories” HERE.

That’s also where you can find links to the stories so that — you know — if you’ve yet to read them, you can get to reading them before voting. The “G” Stories should go up soon despite me not having started on mine yet. Apparently, the Broxson Twins have theirs ready or near ready.

Many people are struggling now, so we understand if these voting reminders go unheeded.

Right!

On to Pelicans. Specifically, American White Pelicans (probably racist). And just because only a few readers click on links, HERE‘s a site I came across that looks interesting and I’ll be exploring.

So, yes, the pelicans are back. A few days ago, we went for a drive just to get the cars running for a bit and drove to the Crab Orchard Refuge. It was a cloudy day — it seems to be a common occurrence here in Southern Illinois — and these guys were in a cove, making the lighting even more difficult, and hence why the feathers are almost washed out.

That Pelican was parading back and forth in front of the heron . . .

Those guys are competitors, but maybe they were working together.

Pelicans have been known to work with each other to herd fish into a school and then dive in to feed. Unlike Brown Pelicans (for example, THESE), these pelicans mostly surface feed as opposed to diving.

I mean, they still dive, but do so while floating or — as in the case of this next sequence — after making a short run atop the water. So, let me set the scene; these three pelicans had been swimming in seemingly random patterns, but they’d actually been herding fish and then, in an explosion of paddling and wings, they rush in and dive into the fish.

The sequence begins when they in unison make a dash for a specific spot . . .

Those shots are from October 29th of last year. Yes, I keep meaning to process the 300+ photos and the dozen+ videos I shot that day . . . but, I still have to finish processing the Fall cruise . . . after I process the Panama Canal Cruise of January 2019 . . . which I will do after I finish processing the 2017 Alaska Cruise.

The good news is that it’s unlikely we’ll go on another cruise, so there’s time for me to catch up.

Anyway, the pelicans from the other day were a bit closer, so I was able to get somewhat better photos.

By the way, these also have the black feathers, but you can’t see them when their wings are folded.

Here’s my favorite shot from this outing . . .

You might be wondering about the protrusion/growth atop the beak . . .

. . . so let me quote from one of the sites I linked above . . .

“… research showed that they have this odd bump during the breeding season–apparently, it makes them more attractive to prospective mates! Go figure. Interestingly, this is called a nuptial tubercle and it will fall off after the breeding season.”

And, from Wikipedia . . .

“During the breeding season, both males and females develop a pronounced bump on the top of their large beaks. This conspicuous growth is shed by the end of the breeding season.”

So, there you go . . . What? How to tell male and females apart?

Well, “Apart from the difference in size, males and females look exactly alike. Immature birds have light grey plumage with darker brownish nape and remiges.”

Difference in size? Here’s the description of the sexes: “Both very large and plump, it has an overall length of about 50–70 in (130–180 cm), courtesy of the huge beak which measures 11.3–15.2 in (290–390 mm) in males and 10.3–14.2 in (260–360 mm) in females.”

So, the males have a marginally longer bill, but from observing the small group I photographed, I didn’t see an obvious difference. All I know is that some were not breeding because they had no nuptial tubercle, or so I’m told.

I’ll have more photos in the future (one of these tomorrows we all like to defer to) but meanwhile, you can click on each photo above for a version twice as large or go to THIS SmugMug gallery for the full-zoom versions of the photos.

Anyway, stay safe, and if so inclined, read the stories and then please vote.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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