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Dusk at the Pelican Rookery Pelican Beakon Photography by Robert Neff

The Pelican Beakon is a newspaper for pelicans, by pelicans, and one staff human photographer. On Nov 2, 2017, they sent a pelican reporter with the human photographer to cover the rookery activity at dusk. This is when pelicans return to the nest for the night.

Our staff human photographer lives on the other side of the Pinellas Bayway Bridge, which connects St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach.

The rookery is not far from the Pinellas Bayway.

The pelican rookery is located across from the "Pink Palace."

The "Pink Palace" is the Don CeSar Hotel and is on St. Pete Beach. The hotel is a landmark and can be seen from the Pinellas Bayway.

This pelican rookery is at Little McPherson Bayou. This rookery is one of several in the area, but this is one of the larger rookeries.

Pelicans just do not fly up and land anywhere at the rookery.

There are several entrances, just like human houses.

The entrance is not a walkway, like humans have leading up to a house. Rather the entrance can best be explained to humans by correlating it to how an airplane approaches the runway. There is a flight path, to make your approach. Like an airplane, the pelicans use a glide path. Only difference is instead of an airplane's wheels touching down on the runway and taxing, a pelican uses the web feet to land on the tree branch. This is not just any tree, this is a mangrove.

There are both high and low approaches.
Each approach is dependent on which section of the mangrove you want to rest. Then you find an empty spot on a tree limb.

The rookery is shared with other birds. Arriving early gets you a "prime" spot for the night.

Wing and tail position is important on the approach.
Sometimes there is a rookery traffic controller on the pylon. Did you call ahead to reserve a particular section or tree limb?
At sunset, the Little McPherson rookery can loose light fast in early November when the sun sets behind the tall palm trees. The rookery can turn the area dark real fast.
The rookery air traffic controller signaled a missed approach. The pelican came in too fast. Pelican safety is a top priority!
Pelican Pat Junior is coming in too fast. The rookery air traffic controller will flap him off and make Pat Junior go around. Tonight, the rookery air traffic controller will speak to the youngster. His father was a dear friend, so this will not an easy conversation.

Pat Junior's father "Pelican Pat" was lost in one of Tampa Bay's summer storms. There have been ghost sightings, which have made him a legend. There have been millions of postcards sold. All profits go to his widow, Pelican Patty, their son, Pat Junior, and the bird rescue.

Pat Junior is often mistaken for his missing father. See the resemblance?
Pelican Pat Junior on his second attempt to land at the rookery.

If the rookery air traffic controller waives you off two times, you are assigned to a wading area. Once the traffic clears, the rookery air traffic controller will signal you when it's OK to make another attempt.

Tonight, the talk of the rookery was about the anhinga telling the egret about the fish that got away! Egret kept asking, "It was how big?" Each time the anhinga's wings got wider until he lost his balance, and fell into the bayou!

The Pelican Beakon is a newspaper for pelicans, by pelicans, and their one staff human photographer who dreams of being a writer. Read more at Pelican Beakon on its website.

The one staff human photographer's book, Pelican Beakon, earned a silver medal at 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Book Award in the short story fiction category.

The Third Anniversary Edition is expected to be available SPRING 2018!
Condo Seniors, Driving The Divas, and Pelican Beakon are trademarks registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office

Credits:

Copyright ©2017 Robert Neff. All Rights Reserved.

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