Half Moon Bay's Pillar Point RV Park Pelican Feeding Frenzy - Day 11

by Pamela Hamilton on 08/17/2013, 04:31 PM

Categories: Park Happenings - Birds - Fishing - PAMELA'S POSTS
Tags: half moon bay , pillar point rv park , pelicans , pillar point , seagulls , surfers beach , feeding frenzy , anchovies

 

It's been 11 days now since the huge bait ball of anchovies came into the bay in front of Pillar Point RV Park and the birds are still feeding as frenzied as they did on the first day the school of fish arrived.  

However, at this point, the fish are so plentiful that the Pelicans rarely make their dramatic dives any longer, they just land and stick their heads in the water using the pouches under their bills like a fishing net.   They can gulp down 30-40 of the anchovies in any one particular event.  

And I call it an event for a reason! 

Each time a pelican goes under water to fill their bill with fish, their entourage, a mixture of white and brown seagulls, terns and other birds I have yet to identify, descend on the pelican squawking and jockeying for the best position closest to the pelicans beak when they emerge from the water.   Often times, the birds will go after fish that falls from the pelican's beak or they will try to go right into the pouch to grab the fish before the pelican swallows them all in one big gulp.    It's a real battle and feathers fly!  And NOISY!




By the way, it's not only the birds that are having a field day with the anchovies, so are the fishermen, who come in close, throw out their nets, and catch enough fish in a quick minute to use as bait for a week!




There's a jetty that runs straight out from the RV Park and the birds were concentrated there Wednesday afternoon.  Here are some more of the photos taken that day.



Look at this photo closely.  You can see that the pelican's bill is full of fish...his pouch is
bulging out and you can see light filtering through his pouch where it's not filled with
fish...You can see how the gulls are circling and this is just a moment in time before they
attack the pelican



I almost forgot to mention sea lions and dolphins who have been feasting as well...















The pelicans seem to be following the sea lion...


Someone gave the pelican command to take flight...What a noise it makes as they all start to flap their wings at the same time!

Besides seagulls, pelicans and terns, the air is also full of cormorants, darters and thousands of storm-petrels, who are the smallest of all sea birds.  They feed on plankton and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering.  



People come from all over to see the sight....