Last Sunday, I made a visit to Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia to photograph the brown pelicans that have been hanging out there overnight on the pilings just off the dock at the park. I arrived 30 minutes before sunrise and got set up and was ready to take pictures when the pelicans began to awaken and rise up on the pilings. Some of the pelicans took flight over the water, and some of the pelicans remained on the pilings the entire time while I was there that morning.
As the sun was beginning to crest the horizon, I had my camera and lens focused on this one pelican on one of the pilings and captured a series of images of the pelican doing a head throw, or sometimes it may be referred to as a bill throw. A pelican head throw or bill throw involves the pelican lifting up its large bill into the air while arching its neck back until its throat is stretched. The pelican will hold this position for a short time before the pelican lower its bill and comes back to a regular standing position. During the head throw that I witnessed and captured on that morning, the pelican opened its bill while throwing its head up in the air. I had never before been able to capture this head throw behavior. I was lucky to be poised and ready to photograph this particular pelican when the pelican did its head throw. To make the images even better my images were captured as beautiful silhouettes with much thanks to the gorgeous lighting of the sunrise.
What makes this series of images even more meaningful to me is that apparently the brown pelican head throw is quite elusive to photographers. So, an even more amazing morning with the brown pelicans at Phoebus Waterfront Park.
Here is a series of images I captured of the brown pelican head throw in silhouette. Hope you enjoy the images.
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All the very best,
Lori A Cash
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