Trio of Brown Pelicans Over The Gulf of Mexico

/, Brown Pelicans, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County/Trio of Brown Pelicans Over The Gulf of Mexico

Brown Pelicans in an early morning flightBrown Pelicans and a Laughing Gull in an early morning flight – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 195mm, natural light

Brown Pelicans are nearly as common in coastal Florida as Canada Geese are here in Utah but they are birds and I find them all appealing. I photographed Brown Pelicans often when I lived in Florida but looking back I know I wish I would have taken more images of them before I left the Gulf Coast to move out west.

Brown Pelicans plunge dive to fish and it can be quite dramatic to see dozens of pelicans diving into the Gulf all at once. The morning that I created the image above was a bird photographer’s delight, or at east it was to me. Schools of small fish were running just off of the shore of Fort De Soto County Park on a January morning and it caused a feeding frenzy for the pelicans, gulls and terns along with wading birds on the shoreline. I remember the sounds of the gulls calling, the pelicans splashing into the water and the smell of the salty breeze.

I did take quite a few full frame images of individual birds but I also wanted to capture what some people call birdscapes by zooming back to capture several birds in a frame with the cloudy sky in the background. Some of those images didn’t work because I would have out of focus birds in the foreground but some did work out quite well.

In this frame I only had one out of focus tern on the left side of the frame but it was in the distance and appears tiny so it doesn’t distract at all from the trio of Brown Pelicans and the single Laughing Gull. I know I could clone out the tern but I like it there because it was there and I am not fond at all of the cloning brush.

I have been very fond of this image of the trio of Brown Pelicans and the Laughing Gull since I first saw it on my screen and nearly six years later I still find myself quite pleased with it.

Life is good.



  1. Mia McPherson November 30, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you all!

  2. Elephant's Child November 30, 2015 at 11:43 am

    A blogging friend coined a name for them which I love – Pelidactyls. I love the bird too.

  3. Jo Ann Donnelly November 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Hi Mia – this a wonderful capture of a favorite bird of mine. Like you they are Very common in FL but I just love seeing them fly, fish and sitting!! I was amazed how big they are – kind of like eagles which are also large birds. Where on the Gulf coast did you live?? I currently live in Palm Beach County but lived in Seminole in Pinellas County for 4 years!!

  4. Jo Smith November 30, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Love seeing them after they nearly disappeared from the Texas coast. They have really made a come back.

  5. Patty Chadwick November 30, 2015 at 7:19 am

    I love to see these birds dive…the speed and angle of the dive make them look like something shot into the water. I like the variety of wing positions in this shot …the “out of focus yern” adds depth that I find very pleasing.

  6. Bob Mcpherson November 30, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Thats a nice picture, Mia. Quite fond of the Pelicans.

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