Pelicans have been making more frequent visits to the slough lately fly-overs mainly but they will land on the water about 3 times a month. They are interesting to watch flying in the stratosphere, well not that high but it sure looks like it. One peculiar characteristic they display is when flying in formation they all turn at the same time in the same direction at the same speed. They disappear in the sky before my eyes when they are at a certain angle to me. Suddenly they will re-appear never missing a beat of the wings.

A small flock landed last week giving me the opportunity to take a few pictures; I was experimenting a bit which resulted in more throw aways than usual. I was using multi-point focus, I know better but I just had to try it again. But never the less I took some fairly good ones. They landed 1/4 mile from me then proceeded to swim that distance eventually in a column by the old dock. They swim as they fly, methodically taking their time not making a sound. I’m not sure what calls they make or if they do.

I don’t know if there is a reason the big bird is following at a distance but it did that for the entire duration of the parade.

I noticed this individual keeping separate from the flock, he looks bedraggled. His plumage looks to be on the rough side and appears to be ill. A good analogy would be rode hard and put away wet. It may be merely at an advanced age and is weakening. The rest of the bunch seemed to be avoiding him as well. This is not a fishing expedition or at least I didn’t see them gather in their feeding positions. They will form a semi-circle then proceed to drive a school of minnows toward the shore trapping them. Suddenly all of their tails point towards the sky as they nab fish from below them.

They proceeded to swim another 100 yards or so then took to the air flying low over the water. It seemed a bit odd that they did not rise to their normal flying altitudes although I’m confident they did at some point. Several people downstream were able to take some really good pictures of them to post on our local FaceBook page, there are many photographers on the Island.

That is a good thing for people to post photos, we are a small community and thought of as a bit too rural for the Bay Area. My theory is the more pictures we post of the beauty and lifestyle of our area it may just enhance the interest and reputation of the Island. We’re in the epi-center of the California water war and need all of the support we can possibly get. If the residents (I’m included) greet people and are freindly it may make visitors anxious to return.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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