If, like me, you enjoy photographing pelicans, Christmas came a day early this year. Well, sort of. I had to get some bread at Girard Gourmet for Christmas dinner, so went into La Jolla early on Dec 24. I had been photographing 3 of the previous 4 mornings but the flight ops were slow. Fortunately I decided to give it another try on Christmas Eve morning and holy toledo the birds were more numerous and more active than I have seen in years! The light and wind conditions were ideal. There were hundreds of birds on Goldfish Point including many that were on the upper part of the bluff, something I have not seen much of this year yet. I shot 128 GB of images before 8:30. It was a lot of fun and among the handful of most enjoyable bird photography occasions I have experienced anywhere. At times, because a nearby cliffside full of birds would empty due to passing waves, there were hundreds of birds in flight at once, wheeling out over the water and returning to land again, making it difficult to pick out which one(s) to photograph. This happened repeatedly for 15-20 minutes. It felt a little like photographing at Bosque del Apache, with an endless parade of birds coming by every few seconds.
I have two spots where I stand at Goldfish Point that offer views I think of as “the windows” since the pelicans often pass through them in appealing orientations — banking or with wings extended fully — and the sun is at my back meaning the bird is usually illuminated well. I shot through both windows and was pleased with the variety and number of images I got. The R5 is helping me get more tack-sharp flight shots than I have experienced before. There were also many birds on the upper shelf of the bluff which allowed for some nice portraits. Here are some of the images I kept. Cheers, and thanks for looking!