American White Pelicans at Barr Lake State Park

The 8.8 mile trail that circles Barr Lake State Park near Brighton CO goes past several wildlife viewing stations. A boardwalk leading to a gazebo with a permanently mounted spotting scope for viewing the rookery area is located a little over a mile from the Nature Center parking area. Over 350 species have been observed in the park but birding has not been as good for the past several months because much of the water in the lake was drained to make repairs to the dam. Water levels are back to normal now and there were hundreds of American White Pelicans visible from the gazebo when I was there last month.

When I reached the gazebo, the pelicans were widely scattered throughout the trees along the distant shoreline. Later, activity in the water closer to the gazebo attracted several small groups of the pelicans. The activity of these groups attracted even more small groups until, eventually, every visible pelican was actively feeding relatively close to my location. With hundreds of active birds flying in different directions, it was difficult to select the subject of a photo. Ten of the more coherent images are presented here (1 above and 9 below). The sixth image below was taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera and 300mm f/4 lens, handheld. The 1.4x teleconverter was attached for the remaining shots.

Click on horizontally oriented images for a larger view.

David Sparks

I retired in 2005 after 40 years of research and teaching at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (24 years), the University of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the Baylor College of Medicine (8 years). Photography is my retirement hobby.

Nature photography, especially bird photography, combines a number of things that I really enjoy: bird-watching, being outdoors, photography, travel, messing about with computers, and learning new skills and concepts.  I now spend much of my time engaged in these activities.

David Sibley in the preface to The Sibley Guide to Birds wrote "Birds are beautiful, in spectacular as well as subtle ways; their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature."  My goal is to acquire images that capture the beauty and uniqueness of selected species as well as images that highlight the engaging behaviors the birds exhibit.