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Three Pelicans, Blue Sky

Three Pelicans, Blue Sky. Pacific Coast, California. May 30, 2011. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.


Three pelicans fly along the California Pacific coastline under clearing fog and blue sky.


To my surprise, I got to feed my pelican obsession on Memorial Day. As we drove up the coast north of Santa Cruz, where the road frequently follows the edges of coastal bluffs where they drop off into the Pacific, we started to notice larger than usual groups of pelicans heading north and riding the updrafts next to the cliffs. Having watched these birds many times before, I have learned a bit about their "traffic patterns," so I suspected that if we went a bit further north to where the road comes down at a beach where a creek enters the ocean that we might encounter the same birds as they, too, dropped down to the water's edge.


My hunch turned out to be right, and a few minutes after we arrived I caught a glimpse of the distant flock coming around the edge of the bluffs to the south and starting to descend toward the beach. They approached over the edge of the surf, but then turned toward the land as they started to climb again to rise above the next bluff to the north - and for a few seconds I was able to track and photograph them against the thinning fog and blue sky.


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Taken on May 30, 2011