[Tweeters] Whidbey pelicans update

earthman1950 at whidbey.com earthman1950 at whidbey.com
Sat Aug 13 14:10:26 PDT 2016

Hello birders,

The American White Pelicans found at Deer Lagoon continue to be there in
large numbers (200-205), but their activity has changed in the past two
days. The pattern of the past few weeks had been for them to be spread out
in various locations at the marsh side early in the day, feeding and
standing on small islands, then all retire to the same location by
8:30-9:00 or so, often out of sight from the view from the dike, but
view-able from Double Bluff Rd. At other times they would go to a couple
small islands toward the southwest side of the marsh, somewhat distant, but
in sight from the dike. There they would spend several hours resting and

Once they get into a large group, they are impossible to count and so it
was easy to under count their actually numbers. I was able to get accurate
counts on days when I was there for the first birds to make their move to
the resting/preening location, when I could count each group as they flew
during the next 30 minutes to an hour.

Yesterday, there were only about 50 pelicans at the marsh side of the
lagoon area, and I thought that perhaps the rest had moved on. Then around
8:30, approximately 150 flew into the marsh from the east. I didn't know
where they had been, but I was glad to see them back. That was the first
time that they had left and then come back again. What a sight to see them
fly in!

Today I was out there with another birder who had driven down the island
to see the pelicans. When we arrived, there were only around 30 birds in
the marsh area. I was expecting the pelicans to return, but when 8:30
passed as did 9:30 and 10:00 with none in sight, it was not looking
promising. Then a single bird flew in from the southeast, then another
single bird about 5 minutes later. Off and on for the next half hour or so,
larger groups came flying in, most all of them from the southeast. Back
"home" for some preening and resting, just later in the day than before.

We ran into a birder who lives at Sunlight Beach to the east/southeast of
the lagoon. He said that the pelicans had been feeding near Sunlight Beach
and down toward Maxwelton in the morning the past two days. Mystery solved
as to where they had been. With the pelicans now spending time feeding
nearby in the bay, possibly they will stay around for awhile. And we're
also wondering if the pelicans will choose Deer Lagoon's marsh side as a
safe and comfortable place to breed next year. Only time will tell, but in
the meantime, it's fun to have them around.

George Heleker
Whidbey Island, WA
earthman1950 at whidbey.com

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