Friday, January 15, 2016

Brown Pelicans

San Diego Metro KOA
Chula Vista, CA
January 15, 2015

Today was La Jolla day..definitely at the top of my list for things to do when here. From the KOA, it is about 22 miles to this hilly seaside village where streets are lined with unique boutiques, galleries, and cafes. But the most compelling highlight for me is the ocean. And yes, the pelicans.  

 If you want to see these elegant birds, the best time to visit La Jolla cliffs is December through February. This is the time of year the Brown Pelican displays it's most colorful plumage. 

 Brown Pelicans mostly eat small fish that form schools near the surface of the water. They catch fish by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun the fish. 
 I read that Brown Pelicans were part of the reason the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System was established in 1903. They were poisoned when they ate fish laced with pesticides, and were almost extinct. In 2009, they were removed from the endangered species list. 

We waited and waited for the perfect picture of the "dramatic red throat pouch", but it just didn't happen today. The pouch can hold up to 3 gallons of water...about 25 pounds worth! 

 Young brown pelicans  lose their feathers 6 times before they look like their parents. When they are 3-5 years old, they are gray-brown on top, blackish-brown on their belly and striped black and silver on their chest. Only after breeding, do their heads turn yellow and their necks turn white. Also, young brown pelicans have brown eyes that turn tan or blue during courtship. 

Open wide!

It was the best pelican day ever! And as always, Joe had to drag me away. It was cloudy and quite chilly today, but I hardly noticed! 

 California dreaming on such a winter's day...

Until next time, let the good times roll...


( Information about Brown Pelicans were found on, and .)


  1. Those pelicans are amazing birds, love watching them diving for fish or even up close., awesome pictures. !

    1. Thanks George and Susie! I had fun reading all about them too...

  2. I love watching them too! Such unique looking birds. Yesterday I was out on the OB pier when a dozen of them skimmed the water right below me...what a sight!

    1. They are comical and always put a big smile on my face Lisa. I have only seen three or so skimming so I know a dozen is quite the show! There is a peacefulness that comes from the ocean...

  3. Thanks for all the interesting information, Gay! I've always enjoyed watch the pelicans. They are so entertaining. Your close ups of the open beak are great:)

    1. Thanks Pam...I really enjoyed the photo shoot!

  4. Wonderful photos, love the young one, and the beak in feathers close up. It's amazing they fly so gracefully when they look so awkward.

  5. Love the crispness and detail of your header!

  6. Those Pelicans are truly photogenic much so that you gave us some great close ups and accompanying info.
    It is also fascinating to watch then during feeding time. Perhaps the next time I see them will be where you are at now, next year.
    Looking forward to our meet up, were here until the 8th.