Good morning and greetings, Wimbledon fans. The early summer weather has been NBA fantastic here on the central coast. Meanwhile, across the midwest last week, record-setting heat in Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis made folks feel like they were roasting in a Dutch oven. Throw in the fact that low temperatures were setting record highs and there was no relief pitcher in sight.
The Eastern seaboard was also feeling a little toasty. How hot was it? According to Jimmy Fallon, it was so hot in New York that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was seen drinking a Big Gulp. Lance Armstrong tested postitive for Snapple. And Letterman said it was so hot in Washington that Dick Cheney waterboarded himself.
So with our central coast weather being lovelier than my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Riccabono, I was a little surprised when I woke up on July 4th to see the fog had settled in along the coast. But despite the grey anatomy, I sprang out of bed and headed down to West Cliff, only to be greeted by some early morning air that was straight out of "Play Misty for Me."
I started on my five mile, er three mile, er mile and half walk but before I could say, "Aretha Franklin,"I encountered chain after chain of pelicans flying by in classic V formations. The first few groups numbered between 20 and 25. I stopped to marvel at their prehistoric beauty, as this sight harkened me back to my childhood and a poster of Raquel Welch in "One Million Years B.C.," which I had hung up up due to my early interest in paleontology.
Then, through the fog and mist came the longest chain yet. This group numbered more than 60 pelicans flying in a long V formation. It was pure magic, and I knew at that moment what I would be featuring as a photo entree for this week's post, which just happens to be my 333rd in my semi-illustrious, non-Pultitzer Prize winning career.
This amazing display of aerial pageantry brought me back to the year 2006, when I was down at Its Beach during some research on my thesis, "When Am I Ever Going To Use Algebra?" It was an extreme low tide day, and I was standing under the arch when I noticed chains of pelicans flying in from the south. I proceeded to shoot away like paparazzi at a Kardashian family luau, as the formations were among the most exotic I had even seen. And much like episodes of "The Closer" on a TNT marathon, they just kept on coming.
I've included a few other memorable in flight moments in today's photo six pack. I took the final shot of this young pelican a month ago up at Four Mile Beach. It was temporarily grounded, and was hanging out in the marsh just off the beach. It was sad to see this sea bird in distress, and hopefully it later flew off to wash and wax its wings in the creek up at Waddell State Beach.
So here are a few fun facts about my favorite coastal bird, the brown pelican. There are approximately eight species of pelicans, notincluding disgraced investigator to the stars, Anthony Pellicano. All of them have the famous throat pouch for which the birds use tocatch fish and carry IDs and iPods.
Pelicans have been roaming the skies for about 30 to 40 million years. But unlike my transformation from love child of the 60's to the silver-haired baby boomer I am today, their look has not changed much over the years, as they have same anatomical similarities they had back in the Flintstone days. To that I can only say, "Yabba dabbadoo."
Brown pelicans like to dine on seafood, and accomplish this culinary task by dive bombing and then scooping the fish into their pouches. The brown pelicans are the only species to plunge into the water from above to capture prey, which makes viewing a full blown pelican feeding frenzy (photo #5 ) a visual treat.
Much like Christina Hendricks character on "Mad Men," they are a quite a sight to see in action. And speaking of Joanie, I'm not even going to get into how her character became a full voting partner in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Jaguar, don't dream it, drive it.
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