The Dance of the Pelican

Image: Brown pelican walking on a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 190 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

During the two recent morning photography shoots in San Diego, we caught glimpses of the Brown pelicans walking along the cliff ledges. Their walk was more of a dance with their careful foot placement and use of their wings to steady their balance.

Image: Brown pelican walking on a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 190 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

They gracefully lifted one foot and then the other to move forward along the edge. It was quite a display as they timed their wings and feet in a synchronous movement.

Image: Brown pelican walking on a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 190 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

As this non-breeding adult (as indicated by the white head and neck feathers) made its way to the edge of the cliff, it kept its focus and attention on its movements.

Image: Brown pelican walking on a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 190 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

Eventually the pelican stopped and readied its wings for its eventual liftoff.

Image: Brown pelican spreading its wings on a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 145 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

The launch began with a squat and a stretching of its wings high overhead to generate a force when the wings descended during the liftoff.

Image: Brown pelican beginning to launch on a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 150 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

The last bit of this sequence of images involved the feet stretching on tiptoe before liftoff. Then this magnificent bird launched into the air, flying out to sea on a hunt for a morning meal.

Image: Brown pelican launching off a cliff, San Diego, California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 145 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

I’ll continue to share more about San Diego in the next few posts. They should still be around if you are in the area! 

You can view these images individually in my portfolio located here.

Author: Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

6 thoughts on “The Dance of the Pelican”

  1. Amy, I’m interested in restarting therapy. Please call me since I don’t have a number to call you. Phil Fox 703-336-7281 mobile 480-427-2394 home

    On Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 5:43 PM Amy’s Impressions wrote:

    > Amy Novotny posted: ” Image: Brown pelican walking on a cliff, San Diego, > California. Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200 mm at 190 mm, f/5, 1/1600 sec, ISO > 1000, hand-held. During the two recent morning photography shoots in San > Diego, we caught glimpses of the Brown pelicans walk” >

    Liked by 1 person

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