Iowa River below the Coralville Dam

A photographer friend of mine, suggested I head to the Iowa River below the Coralville Reservoir Dam to checkout a small group of pelicans. After a noon meeting yesterday, I headed to the area hoping to see a few of the remaining pelicans before they continue their migration into Canada. As you view these five images, please look for the two tags on these banded birds.

I setup my tripod across the river from this apparently sleeping pelican. It finally woke up, stretched and yawned (see the first image below) several times. I missed the first yawn, as I was not expecting it. Notice the leg band on it's left leg.

Check out the feet of the pelican in image #2 (below). With having just woken up, the pelican appears to be a little bit uncoordinated. Also, the second band, on his left wing is visible.

After some unsure steps, the pelican (see image 3 below) jumped with its wings wide heading for a soft landing in the Iowa River.

The pelican floated downstream for about 100 yards, and climbed onto another branch. I moved my tripod down to get across from it and watched as the boat (see image 4 below) approached. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, so I put the camera into low speed continuous shooting mode. As soon as I saw the boat and the pelican in the frame, I started taking images. Surprisingly the pelican did not take off as the boat floated nearby, but merely stood up.

After the boat passed, the pelican took off, I changed to Zone AF from 1 point AF, so I could track its flight (see image 5 below). It passed about 50 feet from the shore where I was standing. It seemed unconcerned about the thirty+ people walking or picnicking on this side of the river, nor to concerned about the nearly twenty fisherman up towards the dam. It flew around about ten minutes before landing a little further down stream.

IARiver Pelican#5_MG_1982.jpg
IARiver Pelican#1_MG_2032.jpg
IaRiver Pelican#2_MG_2033.jpg
IARiver Pelican#3_MG_2069.jpg
IARiver Pelican#4_MG_2126.jpg