"" Writer's Wanderings: Life on the Florida Bay - Pelicans

Monday, January 09, 2017

Life on the Florida Bay - Pelicans

Key Largo has an Atlantic side and a Florida Bay side. While we are staying on the Bay side facing west, we could walk across Route 1 (which can be quite a challenge) if we want to watch a sunrise over the Atlantic. Since that would require getting up pretty early, we opt to enjoy the sunsets from our side of the Key. We also enjoy the wildlife although the most entertaining life is not really very wild.

There is a dock that is part of the condo complex where we are seasonal renters (another term for snowbirds) and we have four or five pelicans who are always in the area. Around the outer part of the dock are some large rocks that help to protect the dock and the boats inside the little harbor area created by the dock. The pelicans perch on the rocks and keep a watchful eye for any fishermen who may be cleaning fish or even for that matter catching fish from the dock.

We will walk on the dock past a pelican perched there and he will watch us with one eye. As we pass, he'll turn his head and watch with the other eye. I'm not sure he can actually see by looking straight ahead. If we happen to stop at the table set up where you can clean your fish you can be sure that the other pelican cohorts will zero in and immediately land or swim up to the table and watch for any fish tidbit you might throw into the water.

Fishing on the dock can be quite a challenge if you want to keep your catch. As you finish reeling in and turn to take your fish off the hook, you'll find yourself surrounded by the grey feathered long beaked web-footed beggars. If you want to catch and release, you have to be quick about it or it the fish will be pelican food before it hits the water.

Watching the landing and take off of a pelican brings a smile every time. They sort of scoot as they land, surfing along the surface of the water until their momentum stops. They are heavy and hardly look like they can actually fly. Their take off is a lot of flapping of wings and I keep watching to see if their feet are actually running along the surface of the water until they take flight. They are pretty expert at zeroing in on a food source though (other than the freebies a fisherman may offer) and they dive down out of the air making quite a splash when they are on the hunt.

I hate to call them clowns but they do bring a smile and a chuckle every time I watch them.

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