Brown Pelican 2Z3
Brown Pelicans cleaned during the oil spill were banded with red and pink leg bands for identification. The rocks along the Calcasieu River are excellent for searching through pelicans for bands, and the codes are large enough to read in photographs. A number of red banded birds were released on near by Rabbit Island after cleaning. Article with photo's can be found at the following link for the August 12th edition of the Cameron Pilot newspaper.
Melvin, Hans, and Mac
The best days for coastal boating in winter often follow cold fronts. The winds will die down, but the temperature drops as well. A few warm up and are perfect for running a boat in the river and near shore. The rocks along the channel are fun to search for shorebirds, gulls, and banded pelicans.
Brown Pelican AZ1
We were able to find 6 different Brown Pelicans with red or pink plastic bands. We got the codes off 5 of them and hope to get some information on the dates and locations of their release following their oil spill cleaning.
Gulls and Holly Beach
There was some gull and tern activity at the mouth of the river, but not as much as we hoped. The seas were calm and good for running the boat, so we headed west looking for more activity. We followed a shrimp boat as it headed toward the Holly Beach coast. Here is where we found the shrimp boats working and gulls on the water.
1st Jaeger Sighted
Hans spotted the 1st jaeger of the day as it came in low above the water in typical jaeger fashion. It veered off and headed east before giving us good looks, but the seas were right for a chase. We took off behind it and followed as it hunted the waters for a gull to rob.
We were lucky to stay with and work around in front of it. It gave us a good look as it flew past and continued on it's way. The sharp tapered central tail feathers are characteristic of the Parasitic Jaeger, a difficult species to find in Louisiana.
Photographs are always important in documenting jaegers as emphasized in Donna Dittmann and Steve Cardiffs excellent article, "ABC's of jaeger ID" which can be found on the LOS web site.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
It took a while before finding the next jaeger. We drifted among a dozen or more shrimp boats working off Holly Beach looking through the gulls. We found this immature Lesser Black-backed Gull among a small flock loafing on the water.
Chasing a Pomarine Jaeger
I true character, out of nowhere came a jaeger racing just above the water. It was moving and another chase was on. This was a great chase with the jaeger content to cruise above the surface at an easy 30 mph pace while the seas were calm enough for us to stay with it. We stayed with it for 10 or 15 minutes as we watched it hunt a meal to rob from a Laughing Gull.
After the chase and enjoying the show, we worked ahead of it. Pulling to a stop we got lucky and it gave us a nice fly by for photo's before continuing on it's way.
Parasitic - Pomarine Comparison
Looking at photo's at home on the computer is always fun to do at the end of the day. Although the angle is a little different in the two pictures of the two species, it offers a good comparison. The head size relationship to the body is nicely illustrated.