Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pleasant with a Forecast of Pelican

Most of my posts lately have come from summaries of long birding trips.  This post will be shorter and will highlight one bird.  After an appointment, I had time to go birding somewhere and I chose to go to Lake Pleasant.  I have come to love Lake Pleasant.  Although difficult to bird, this huge lake has awesome potential and it lies in two counties, Maricopa and Yavapai.  As I'm a county lister for both counties, I find this a fun area to bird also because of that reason.  When I bird this lake, I usually start at the northern side of Yavapai County.  Shortly into my scanning, I saw a nice surprise and a new and rare bird on a Yavapai scale, two Brown Pelicans!

Although they were distant at first, they were still very distinctive and were of course instantly identifiable.  A Pelican is a Pelican!  And they were very comfortable too.  I wanted to get closer and it appeared that I could take my time in getting over to them, as they didn't mind the presence of anyone else floating by on the lake.

After some careful maneuvering around the lake edges and crevices, I got close to the two Brown Pelicans.  Here is an actual shot of my viewpoint with the naked eye.  Also, it's pretty funny to see Brown Pelicans with the Sonoran desert in the background isn't it.  

After a walking and risking injury to get so close to get to the Pelicans, I finally arrived where I wanted to be.  And then there were three (one isn't photographed, he he).  The Brown on the left is a non-breeding adult and the Brown on the right is a juvenile.  I took a series of photographs of this neat treat..

 You've gotta love Lake Pleasant.  It is very well named.

Also present were six of my year's first Common Loons.  They even yodeled several times, which is always awesome to hear.  Once again I looked around and saw cacti, not a high mountain lake up north surrounded by deep conifer woods.

November birding in Arizona is probably my favorite time of year.  Rarity potential is high for a variety of different species, and the northern birds are coming down from the ups.  What's next?!


  1. Awesome finds Mr. Tommy!!! When I saw the BRPE's they were in the same spot! Unfortunately the COLO wasn't. I like the photo with that guy hanging out of the boat looking at them.

    1. Thanks Caleb! I'm glad I was able to get that photo with the curious look on the guy's face! You'll find a Common Loon soon, I just know it...

  2. Great find, Tommy! I can't wait to see a Brown Pelican someday.

    I think you should enter that photo of the guy leaning out of the pontoon in that ABA photo contest by Ted Floyd.

    1. Thanks Josh! You will enjoy every second of seeing your first Brown Pelican: they are awesome!

      I'll have to look into that photo contest, I got a kick out of seeing people's reactions to the two Pelicans just sitting there!