Graceful Pelicans

I was fascinated watching the aerial maneuvers of White Pelicans at the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge at the south end of San Francisco bay.

Breakfast time was over, and now it was time to preen those feathers and get them back into their best condition.
A lone Pelican was still swimming around looking for something to eat (?), but usually these Pelicans, which do not dive for their food unlike Brown Pelicans, forage in huge groups, paddling their feet to scare fish up to the surface. For example, in the photo below…
White Pelicans were “group fishing” on a lake in southern Minnesota last year. Great Blue Herons stood by to catch whatever the Pelicans missed.
But their real grace is in their effortless flight — catching the updrafts for lift on those long wings…
or moving more quickly with slow, deep flaps in order to get up speed to glide.
Even their landings are pretty graceful as they daintily lower their big webbed feet to the ground while back-pedalling with their wings to slow their descent.

10 thoughts on “Graceful Pelicans

      • I have not been there in many years. I recently read that one of the more historic buildings there, which was already historic in the 1940s, burned down. The land was too desirable for that to not happen. It was only a few parcels away from my ancestor’s foundry.

        • That area of Alviso is unfortunately very run down. It looks like there were some old canneries that have not been torn down, but nevertheless sit in decay all around them. Sadly, it looks like only a couple of restaurants survived Covid shutdowns.

        • Alviso always looked like that. At least one of the canneries remains as a historical ‘site’. It is too deteriorated to restore, but too historic to demolish. It is just being allowed to decay naturally until the property gets redeveloped, which could be quite soon. Vahl’s Restaurant had been there longer than anyone can remember. My ancestor’s foundry was right behind it. Vahl’s always seemed to out of place there, as such an elegant restaurant in what was at the time, still an industrial town. It was very popular with those who work at Lockheed. Nowadays it is weirder that, as shabby as Alviso still is, the homes there cost more than a million dollars.

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