Pelican pair flying a 'coil' track

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Subject: Pelican pair flying a 'coil' track
From: "Ross Kelly" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 11:53:34 -0800
I noted a pair of pelicans flying above Monash (the edge of Monash not far from Lake Tugg) - this is not unusual in itself.
They were at about a height of 50 or 60 metres, and as I watched them I saw that they were tracing circles that were offset each time by about half the diameter, so that they gradually tracked towards Kambah. Their path, if you were able to record it somehow, would have been a lengthening coil. A very inefficient way to get anywhere!
My initial thought was they were trying to catch an updraft off the Monash ridge that extends into Oxley, but their altitude didn't seem to change much. Then I thought they were surveying or memorising the countryside for some later purpose, and my final thought was that they were just enjoying their own company and flying without having any pressing destination.
Can anyone shed any light on this mode of flight?
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