Sunrise Pelican

On a recent winter morning I found this adult California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) displaying the species’ characteristic winter breeding plumage (note the chestnut hindneck) posing nicely as the distant sky took on the pre-sunrise purple glow. This is basically straight out of the camera. I did not adjust the white balance nor did I bump up the saturation. The pink in the distance is the sky, the blue below it is the ocean. La Jolla, California.

California brown pelican, portrait in pink-purple predawn light, rests on sandstone seabluff.  The characteristic mating plumage of the California race of brown pelican is shown, with red gular throat pouch and dark brown hindneck colors, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California brown pelican, portrait in pink-purple predawn light, rests on sandstone seabluff. The characteristic mating plumage of the California race of brown pelican is shown, with red gular throat pouch and dark brown hindneck colors.
Image ID: 23646
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Here are a few more, just a few minutes after sunrise (about 7am):

Portrait of California brown pelican, with the characteristic winter mating plumage shown: red throat, yellow head and dark brown hindneck, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Portrait of California brown pelican, with the characteristic winter mating plumage shown: red throat, yellow head and dark brown hindneck.
Image ID: 23647
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California pelican in flight, soaring over the ocean.  The wingspan of this large ocean-going seabird can reach 7' from wing tip to wing tip, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California pelican in flight, soaring over the ocean. The wingspan of this large ocean-going seabird can reach 7′ from wing tip to wing tip.
Image ID: 23657
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

I never get tired of photographing these beautiful birds. See a Guide to Photographing Pelicans in La Jolla.