After my return to Oregon, the first place I visited was the Fernhill Wetlands. One of the closer wildlife refuges to my home, it's a favorite hangout for myself and my neighbor and photo-mentor Cheri. She was glad to have me home - her photo-buddy was finally back!
|Great Blue Heron giving me the "eye"|
Cheri had heard there were white pelicans at Fernhill. She loves photographing pelicans, so we drove over one day to check things out. Arriving late in the afternoon, we heard from another birder that a flock had just flown away. No matter, it's a pleasant walk around the main pond, and we did spot a friendly Great Blue Heron.
|This green heron posed nicely for us!|
Not only that, but Cheri spotted a usually elusive green heron who posed nicely on a tree - for several minutes! (Can you say "money shot?")
|Perfect pelican reflection|
Although the herons were great photo material, Cheri wanted to capture some pelicans. Not to be deterred, she proposed we return to Fernhill the next morning - early.
|Pelicans in flight|
Arriving at the refuge by 6:30 am, we immediately headed to the large pond, hoping to spot some of our large-beaked friends.
|Big pelican flock in great light|
At first all we spotted was one lone pelican, standing in the water by himself. The morning light was perfect and the water so still, it made for an awesome reflection image.
|Another shot of the flock|
Then Cheri noticed the pelican flock in a nearby pond. We sighted our cameras on the birds, but they were still too far away. But then, much to our delight, the entire group spread their wings and flew into the pond right in front of us!
|Caught the middle pelican's beak at an unusual angle!|
Conditions couldn't have been better! The morning light was coming from the correct angle and illuminated the pelicans perfectly.
|One guy is still feeding|
Besides photographing them, the pelicans were fun to watch. They swam around in a large group, dunking into the water for food in unison, and coming back up all at the same time.
|Pelicans in a row|
Then three of the pelicans broke away from the flock and swam together in a row. Too perfect! Cheri and I made many images of this. (Naturally, we ended up with a lot of the same photographs.)
|"Yak, yak, yak....."|
This photo made me laugh. Looks like the one pelican is boring his companion to death.
|Swimming together looking for food|
Although pelicans were our main focus of the day, I couldn't resist pointing my lens at the numerous shorebirds scampering around water's edge. This Killdeer reflected perfectly in the shallow waters.
After about an hour, the pelicans left in a large group, flying from the main pond to a smaller pond in an inaccessible area of the refuge. But Cheri and I had enough time to fill our memory cards with plenty of great pelican images. Enough photos that sorting and editing them would occupy an entire afternoon.
We ended our perfect morning by stopping by another local greenway on the way home to look for some acorn woodpeckers. Eagle-eyed Cheri spotted one flitting through the trees with a green acorn in it's beak.
It was great to be back home in Oregon photographing some of my familiar feathered friends. Enjoy the pics!