Updated: Feb 5
Hi everyone! Grab you pencil and sketchbook because do I have a place for you! Last Saturday (albeit late) I went down to Lake Morton in Lakeland to sketch the white pelicans there and boy I was NOT disappointed. There were about 35-40 pelicans waiting to be sketched. But wait you say, what's the big deal? We have pelicans in Florida year round. True, but those are brown pelicans, while these are the migratory white pelicans. They are bigger than our native pelicans and they have a different feeding strategy. While our native pelican dives for food, which is quite amazing to watch, the white pelicans have a cooperative feeding strategy. They surround fish and begin to feed together.
These birds are massive and I dare say quite impressive to see in person. At Lake Morton there is parking along the road (in certain areas) and you can get quite close (within 20 feet) to sketch. As always do not get too close to the birds. Be mindful if they start to look like they are getting nervous and will flee the area. If they are lining up on the shore it takes extra energy for them to hop back in the water and swim away from a perceived threat. For a general address you can look up the Lakeland Library but I can not condone parking there if you aren't visiting the library. There is the Polk Museum of Art in that paring lot as well so perhaps make a day of it. Go look at some art then head to the lake and make your own! There are plenty of other species of wading birds and water fowl so feel free to bring seed or peas NO BREAD, to feed the feathered residents.
Here is a wonderful podcast about the pelicans and honestly a wonderful Florida podcast period:
Plethora of birds including white pelicans.