Posts Tagged: scalderphotography

American White Pelican

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The beautiful  American White Pelican is one of our largest birds in North American. They have a NINE and a half foot wingspan and can weigh 15 or more pounds!  This breeding adult is soaring in flight.  The adult breeding colors include the yellow chest feathers and the yellow plate on it’s upper bill which it loses after breeding. Despite their strong flight abilities, they are very awkward on land. I was surprised to learn that they migrate, only spending winters in Florida.  In the summer this beauty travels to the interior of Western Canada and the North Western US, where they breed and form colonies on fresh water lakes.  It was a treat getting to view this breeding adult as the group prepared to travel north from Florida.

Brown Pelican

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I was watching the waters around Merritt Island, Florida and this Brown Pelican landed just to my left in a marshy area. This adult is in breeding plumage with bright blue eyes, pink bill, reddish brown neck and yellow head. These birds are big and stocky with a 79 inch wingspan and seem clumsy on land. This one looks quite graceful as it is landing, almost as if it is conducting an orchestra.

Bald Eagle stealing fish from Osprey

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I was walking along a pond in Florida when I watched an Osprey catch a fish. Just after the Osprey shook the water off with his meal safely in tow, a Bald Eagle rapidly zoomed in and harassed the Osprey for several minutes. They flew around for several minutes but the Eagle seemed to be the better, faster flier. The Eagle circled around and came up behind the Osprey with talons forward and snatched the fish from the Osprey. The Osprey is the more skilled fisherman but apparently the Eagle is larger and stronger. It was quite an interaction! Size matters!!!

Sandhill Crane Chicks

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I had the privilege of watching these Sandhill Crane chicks for over a week as they went about their little lives. These chicks are only several days old. During the week I watched and photographed them, they seemed to grow and become more active right in front of my eyes! They eat insects fed by the parents and sleep under the parents at night. Sandhill Crane chicks can’t fly until around three months and the family stays together until the juveniles are around ten months old. Each Sandhill Crane pair usually only has one chick per year that survives so I sure hope both of these two little ones made it!

The “Carolina” Duck

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The Wood Duck is one of the most beautiful ducks. It is commonly known as the Carolina Duck although I have never actually found one in the Carolinas. They are one of the few ducks with claws that enable them to perch on branches and hang on to tree bark. Wood Ducks nest in cavities in trees but aren’t able to make their own cavities, they either use rotted areas in trees or cavities that other birds have built. They also readily nest in artificial nest boxes. A very interesting fact about Wood Ducks is that females will commonly visit other Wood Duck cavities and lay their eggs to be raised by another Female! It is apparently called “Egg Dumping”.