Heads-up for White Pelican

UPDATE: Phil Rusch just emailed me with news that a flock of 8 White Pelicans was seen in Providence at 1:00pm today. With the weather already deteriorating by then, it's likely that they weren't able to leave Rhode Island. There's a decent chance that these birds fly through CT tomorrow on their way to warmer climes.

ORIGINAL POST: Yesterday a flock of 6-7 White Pelicans were reported from coastal Maine, and a few days before that a flock of about a dozen were seen in New Jersey. Everyone else in New England should be on the lookout, especially for those Maine birds, which should be heading south, particularly with winds out of the north for the next couple days.

I've only seen one White Pelican in New England, a near-frozen bird in Rhode Island that I believe kicked the bucket soon after I saw it. (Come to think of it, I never actually saw it move while I was watching it....) Anyway, I'd love to catch up with one in CT, but that's easier said than done. Although they are reported about annually in recent years, they are nearly always fly-bys as they ride NW winds along the coast toward New York.

Roy Harvey I think has a good story about intercepting White Pelicans in CT. Roy, if you read this, remind me!

- NB


  1. Saturday November 1, 2003, morning. Dori and I were birding at Sherwood Island State Park when her phone rang.... I don't recall who called but they had 3 American White Pelicans at Milford Point, in or over the marsh. We immediately jumped in our respective cars and headed east on I-95. While we drove Dori got updates, and phoned them to me, that the birds were moving east, so we went on farther to Silver Sands State Park. We stopped along the raod, pulled over, and started watching. Within a few minutes three circling American White Pelicans showed up overhead. They never flew straight, just circled and circled and circled - fairly tight circles - each circle a little bit farther east than the last. They slowly drifted east until out of sight. Not sure of the altitude but it was neither extremely high nor extremely low. Others tried to find them down toward Gulf Pond and Anderson Avenue, no luck.

    The next day (Sunday) two were seen in Westbrook at Salt Meadows, flying toward Hammo. Then on Monday two were seen perched in Guilford, and half an hour later Greg had two at Lighthouse Point. Greg had them low over the water.

    Now if I could only see (in CT) a BROWN Pelican!

  2. Hey,
    I'm glad I'm not crazy!
    This morning at 7:00 I saw two white pelicans in front of my house at 171 Linden avenue , Branford , CT. They were flying southwest. I did not have time to get my camera to confirm.
    Jim Goggin

  3. Jim, fascinating. Obviously separate from yesterday's flock of 8, that makes 10 in CT yesterday.

  4. On 8/30/2011 I spotted and photographed and American White Pelican in Ash Creek Marsh off Black Rock harbor in Bridgeport last week- after the hurricane came through. It was alone, and hanging out with the egrets. I got 3 sort of fuzzy (because of distance) but clearly visible Pelican photos.


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