It was with great excitement that Bob and I learned of some American White Pelicans visiting Second Marsh in Oshawa. They are such a rare beauty on the shores of Lake Ontario. We wasted no time in going to see them.
American White Pelicans breed in places like the north shore of Lake Superior and further west in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada.
Our first attempt at seeing the Pelicans gained us distant views of six of them. On our second try, one lone Pelican fished and floated nearer the barrier beach at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve.
But there was something really special about viewing one on our home turf knowing that they hatch and fledge in Canada.
Although too distant for the reach of our cameras, you can get an idea of the size of the American White Pelican’s pouch. It had scooped its bill full of water in the hopes of catching some fish.
A Pelican’s pouch is capable of holding 3 gallons of water. A Pelican tips its head back to drain the water out of the pouch and then swallows any fish that remain.
As the only two people on the beach, Bob and I waited patiently for the Pelican to come closer.
The wingspan of an American White Pelican is significant as we saw when it took flight.
Gaining liftoff was no easy task even with the Pelican’s wings beating the water’s surface.
What a magnificent sight as it glided across our sight line to a preferable location on the bay.
Completing our sightings that day was our first-of-year Ruddy Turnstone.
On our previous visit, the “pouch” of Pelicans took flight just as we arrived allowing only aerial shots of them soaring on high.
The Pelicans rose higher and higher in the sky as they circled on the thermals.
In the end, all of the Pelicans finally moved on to other places in Ontario. Even today, as I write this, an American White Pelican is being reported in the Hamilton area. We’re hoping that maybe some day down the line, a pair will choose to nest at Second Marsh.
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