The Australian pelican and the common seagull (also known as silver gull) can be found everywhere yet their personalities are so comical that they are two subjects I love to photograph on holidays. Pelicans in particular can be so gregarious, looking graceful in the air as they glide along yet they look clumsy and too big to take off when they are on land. As for seagulls, although they are scavenger birds they can look so elegant and pristine with their perfectly white and groomed feathers they make great subjects for photos.
There are a few places where pelicans have featured in our holidays, one of which is on the Murray River in South Australia. You can spot them anywhere you stay along the river, soaring high overhead or skimming the water and always looking for a sneaky feed on the banks where people are.
Another holiday spot where we were hounded by pelicans was at Tea Gardens in New South Wales. Sitting down to a meal of freshly cooked and battered fish and chips, they came swarming in like seagulls but just gave us deadly stares – to no avail.
Kalbarri in Western Australia is another must see for the pelican fan with pelican feeding taking place every morning on the foreshore. A few lucky pelicans are only fed a very small token amount nowhere near what they need for the day, so they aren’t dependant on the handout. For a long time a local fisherman would throw a few unwanted fish to the pelicans and in the end they became quite demanding but now the practice has been taken on as a more controlled tourist attraction.
Volunteers combine a talk on the pelicans and general tourism information on the Kalbarri area and what to see and do in the area. The volunteers are great fun and have a laugh with the crowd while spreading a bit of knowledge.
It was here that I caught this synchronised swimming team but obviously one of them missed the training.
You can see pelicans resting in some pretty strange places, almost as if they don’t realise their own size, for example sitting on light poles that don’t look like they can support them. They are very smart in that they are always waiting near boat ramps for fishing boats to come back in after a day at sea.
For personality plus you can’t beat seagulls. Always watching, waiting, harassing for food, waiting to pounce on any food or bait unattended.
And you can’t help but feel sorry for the adult gulls when they get screeched at and harassed by the young ones.
With pelicans and seagulls about you’ve always got a subject for your photos.