White Pelicans at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.


White Pelican


In the last post, which was about the fall migration at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, I mentioned seeing sights and sounds that were absolutely amazing.  By way of our original photographs and written description I’ll do my best to take you there.


Debbie and I spent quit a bit of time on Sod House Road in search of birds.  Hardly any traffic.  Plenty of room to pull over, look and listen.  This is the road that leads to the wildlife headquarters and has side-roads that took us  to Frenchglen and Buena Vista Lookout.  While driving along we could see little white-dots which were birds flying in the distance.  Figured they were Egrets.  So the first time we stopped to look at them through the binos (I mostly use Endeaver 8X42s) we could see they were actually migrating White Pelicans.  First we saw one……..

We yakked at each other about how fortunate we were to see a White Pelican.  Too far away to get much of a shot but sometimes we have to settle for what we get.  The weather was warm and a little windy.  When we stopped the car there was the almost musical, liquid sound of flocking birds far off in some hayed field.  Not pelicans but a sound, a voice new to us I’ll write about another time.  Then, like a snowflake weaving its’ weary path to nowhere, the bird was gone.  Hop back in the car and Debbie’s pointing.  Two more…


We watched this beautiful pair glide by.  Excuse me but it made me feel kinda cuddly all over.   Then there were more…How cool is this?

And more…

By now you think I’m going to show you even more White Pelican photos?  No, No, were off to the Headquarters to see what we could see.  When we arrive I notice an observation tower.  I thought “boy, that’s a  l o n g  way to the top”.  Half seriously I’m thinking about going up when I meet this very lovely, nice lady named Diane.  Debbie had already wandered off  knowing she wasn’t climbing that 4 or 5 flights of steps up the tower.  Diane and I hear this sound coming our way.  Then it was silent.  And then we hear it again, closer, not unlike the hurricane fans (without the motor) I used to use burning slash in the snow.  Looking up we see maybe 500 or more White Pelicans.  They were so close that if I’d been up in the tower I could have reached out and touched one.  Just gliding, not a bird flapping and when they turned like Starlings in murmuration , there was silence. And turning again, in an arranged order, there was that long, drawn out wooooooosshhhh again.  Jaw-dropping unbelievable!  I remember Diane saying “and me without my camera”.  Here ya go Diane!

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