I rarely saw Brown Pelicans on the water in the North Basin until recently. When seven of them appeared at once in June, I thought it was extraordinary. A month later, more than two dozen made a show that dwarfed the June assembly. Now, in August, on the occasion of a minus low tide, they were back, again by the dozen. They kept flying in and out and around so that I couldn’t get an accurate count, but there might have been as many as thirty altogether.
Mostly, they were doing what all the other birds were doing at this low tide: feeding. Not on the mud, like the godwits and other peckers, and not in the puddles or inch-deep shallows, like the egrets, but in water maybe a foot or two deep. I saw only one instance where a pelican’s prey made a visible bulge in the flap of its lower mandible. Whatever else they were catching must have been smaller than a human finger.
Some of the birds paid special attention to the sunken wreck that sits in the North Basin and emerges during low tide. Possibly the wreck serves as shelter for some finny creatures. The pelicans were definitely checking it out.
I’m wondering whether the pelicans have made up their mind to include the North Basin in their regular summer visiting schedule. I hope to see them again in even larger numbers.
Watch this video on YouTube if the embedded version below doesn’t work.
Image date 8/12/18