American White Pelican in summer plumage

Fluffy American White Pelican in summer plumageFluffy American White Pelican in summer plumage – Nikon D810, f8, 1/3200, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I wanted to share an image of an American White Pelican in summer plumage today because summer is upon us and today marks America’s Independence Day.

Adult American White Pelicans have three plumage phases annually, nonbreeding (September through February), breeding (February through June) and summer (June through August). Those plumage phases are also known as, in the same order,  Definitive Basic Plumage, Definitive Alternate Plumage and Supplemental Plumage.

The summer plumage is easy to identify because the normally white crown and nape plumes are replaced with short medium to dark gray to black feathers. By then end of summer those dark feathers will be replaced with short white feathers on the crown and nape.

This image was taken on my most recent trip to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge at the end of June. There are large numbers of American White Pelicans at the refuge right now.

Why a pelican instead of a Bald Eagle on Independence Day? Well, it has the word “American” in its name, it is as simple as that.

Happy 4th.

Life is good.



  1. Deborah July 5, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Beautiful! I love pelicans!

  2. Deborah July 5, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Beautiful Pelican photo! I love them. I also love to photograph them!

  3. Elephant's Child July 4, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you.

  4. Pepe Forte July 4, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Mia,

    Another fabulous pic. I can’t imagine the patience and perseverance it takes to capture such incredible images. I have been around art and photography all of my adult life [ I’m 72 ] and I can say without qualification that your work is truly amazing. I can’t wait for your next post.

    Along with your 8 billion other admirers…I also want to wish you a very happy 4th of July…from San Diego.

    Best Regards,


  5. Bob McPherson July 4, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Gorgeous image, Mia.Happy 4th to you also.

  6. Patty Chadwick July 4, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I love yoir choice of. 4th of July, Independence Day American bird….it’s such a beautiful shot…both bird and water….AND reflection–all good!!! Happy 4th!!!

  7. Liz Cormack July 4, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Oh, what a beautiful shot. Happy 4th of July from Canada.

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