Photos of California Brown Pelicans in Flight, 2021/2022

By January 30, 2022Pelicans

This winter my bird photography goal was to make about a dozen strong images of California brown pelicans in flight.  I’ve been out many mornings photographing them.  In late December I had some productive days with a run of four straight mornings during which conditions were ideal.  There was nobody else on the bluff (which helps immensely) those mornings, the skies were clear to the east at dawn, the wind was from the east, and there was plenty of bait in our local waters that the pelicans kept going out to feed and returning to the cliffs to rest and dry.   I am hopeful for one or two more great days of flight photography and no people on the bluff next month. Here are some of my favorites from this winter.  I will keep photographing through February, gradually shifting attention to cormorants as their plumage waxes and that of the pelicans wanes, and will post more after then.  Cheers, and thanks for looking!

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs. Note the classic winter breeding plumage, with bright red throat, yellow and white head and neck, and brown hind neck, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs. Note the classic winter breeding plumage, with bright red throat, yellow and white head and neck, and brown hind neck.
Image ID: 36679
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California brown pelican in flight, braking to land on seacliffs, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California brown pelican in flight, braking to land on seacliffs.
Image ID: 36726
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs.
Image ID: 37408
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown pelican in flight, soaring along sea cliffs above the ocean in La Jolla, California. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown pelican in flight, soaring along sea cliffs above the ocean in La Jolla, California. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status.
Image ID: 37410
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs.
Image ID: 37411
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

Brown pelican in flight. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status. In winter months, breeding adults assume a dramatic plumage, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Brown pelican in flight. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status. In winter months, breeding adults assume a dramatic plumage.
Image ID: 36685
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Ghost Pelican, flying in pre-dawn light, over the ocean, La Jolla, California

Ghost Pelican, flying in pre-dawn light, over the ocean.
Image ID: 37631
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs.
Image ID: 36737
Species: Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown pelican in flight, wings spread as it soars over cliffs and the ocean in La Jolla, California

California Brown pelican in flight, wings spread as it soars over cliffs and the ocean in La Jolla, California.
Image ID: 37620
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla.
Image ID: 37647
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla.
Image ID: 37648
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla.
Image ID: 37649
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs, La Jolla

California brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs.
Image ID: 37700
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla

Windsurfing California Brown Pelican, La Jolla.
Image ID: 37671
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Ghostly California brown pelican glides over breaking surf, abstract with motion blur and pastel pre-dawn colors, La Jolla

Ghostly California brown pelican glides over breaking surf, abstract with motion blur and pastel pre-dawn colors.
Image ID: 37676
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican in flight, spreading wings wide to slow in anticipation of landing on seacliffs.
Image ID: 37682
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Brown pelican in flight. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status, La Jolla

Brown pelican in flight. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status.
Image ID: 37688
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown pelican in flight, soaring along sea cliffs above the ocean in La Jolla, California. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis

California Brown pelican in flight, soaring along sea cliffs above the ocean in La Jolla, California. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status.
Image ID: 37415
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, Pelecanus occidentalis