unusual Pelican behaviour

Subject: unusual Pelican behaviour
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 16:10:47 +1000
Talking of Interpretive Birding how about this:

I was walking on Red Hill, ACT, which is a high point on a ridge which stretches away southwards from the Parliamentary Triangle area of Canberra, Red Hill itself begin about 4 kms from Lake Burley Griffin.

From Red Hill I observe a Pelican gliding with occasional flaps at about 100m above the Hill along the ridge southwards towards the next high point, Mt Mugga. At first I thought that the bird was using the thermals rising from the hill to gain height (this was at about 11.30am), but the bird did not seem to gain height at all. My next thought was that it had flown south from Lake BG and that it was using the thermals to waft it along the ridge to the south and that it was making for Lake Tuggeranong (10 kms to the south). However the bird flew southwards along the ridge for a km or so and then turned and came back, still at the same height. I watched it on an off for the next half hour, but during this time it did not gain height and continued to patrol a length of the ridge of about 2 km.

I have often seen Kestrels, Little Eagles, Wedge-tailed Eagles and Brown Goshawks doing this along this ridge, but never a Pelican!

Explanations please.

John Leonard

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