By Mike Busch
With over 12,500 members from all corners of the island, not much wildlife can pass through our area without someone from the Long Island Wildlife Photography group noticing and sharing a photo with the rest of us. This week several members reported and photographed an American White Pelican mixed in with a bevy of Swans. In the photo below by Jim Botta, the White Pelican is dead center, blending in with a group of Mute Swans and only standing out due to the huge beak.
Note the similar size of the Mute Swan and White Pelican captured below by Dan Fiore.
The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds in North American with a wingspan up to 9 feet! While the Brown Pelican reported last week is considered uncommon, particularly in the Winter, a White Pelican on Long Island has to be considered rare. These birds normally winter in Florida, and spend the summers in central North America. As you can see in the map below, this bird is way off course. I did a search of a sightings on Long Island and couldn’t find any, there were several birds that appeared in Upstate New York in the spring of 2017. Before posting this I did a quick search on the LIWL page and found that Robert Taylor found a pair in Nassau County in November 2015.
Unlike the Brown Pelican, the American White Pelican does not dive for food. Instead they catch their prey while swimming, requiring about 4 pounds a day. Hopefully this bird gets out of here before the upcoming freeze makes catching enough fish to survive a problem. We included a few more shots from Jim Botta and Ken Grille below.
Also notable this week, a few more Razorbills that we highlighted last week and as usual, a great variety of birds and Harbor Seals on the pages below.
This week’s cover shot goes to Jill Weigold Wendling with a great shot of a pair of Juvenile Bald Eagles.
More Photos on pages 2,3,4,5,6 and 8