The Queen of the Log pelican decided that she was willing to share her log with another worthy bird. Unfortunately, that did not reflect well on the pelican snoozing nearby.
Further out in the bay, two geese had just finished taking turns dipping their heads in the water for foreplay and were ready to get down to business.
The Queen of the Log got bored with her position and decided to move on.
Two pelicans had been swimming together around the bay, occasionally plunging their heads underwater to hunt for fish. They came across a piece of trash and squabbled over who got to play with it.
The pelican who was unable to get to the trash slowly moved on, and her partner abandoned the trash in order to keep up.
Then the pelican who had tried playing with the trash discovered an even better toy.
A brief note about play: Justice Stewart’s aphorism about pornography also works when trying to describe what appears to be object-oriented play among the pelicans. Some instances of play are very obvious, but some are not. Repetition is a good indicator that the pelican is playing, but what about when there is only one incident? In this case, the pelican appeared as though she were purposefully engaging with a useless object, and she had done the same thing with the orange piece of trash just a few minutes before finding the stick. I’ve seen some pelicans, when they are in a playful mood, pick up object after object after object to drop and toss around.
She swam over to where the stick had landed. I thought she was going to look for it, but when her companion started swimming toward her, she abandoned what might have been her search and decided to crown herself Queen of the Log.
Perhaps inspired by the Queen of the Log’s play behavior, a different pelican picked up a stick, although she didn’t seem very interested in it. That is not atypical for play behavior: nearby pelicans watching the play can get interested enough that they try to pick up nearby objects and manipulate them. Most of the time, like with this bird, they lose interest quickly. But not always.
I went to the shore to see what was going on over there. Several pelicans were trying to figure out a way onto the prime loafing areas without encountering too much resistance.
I went back to the dock, where a pelican was splashing up a storm as she bathed.
A pelican played with the same bit of trash that a different pelican had found a couple of days earlier.
Another pelican made a mighty leap onto a high-up section of log, got attacked, panicked, and jumped forward off the log into the water. They would have been lovely pictures except I had the exposure set way too dark. Oh well.
A pelican that had been swimming suddenly stopped, stood up, and flapped mightily.
Perhaps she was flapping to psych herself up for a confrontation, because after she sank back into the water she steamed toward the Queen of the Log log.
Out past the Queen of the Log log, Dread Pirate Roberts was bathing vigorously.
Sure enough, the swimming pelican reached the Queen of the Log log, paused, and launched herself into the air.
The pelican who was kicked managed to stay on the log.
When both of the birds were balanced together on the log, I thought they might settle down and share. I underestimated the original pelican’s dedication to keep the log to herself.
The pelican who lost suddenly decided that she was going to fly somewhere far, far away. Then the pelicans of White Rock Lake would be sorry.
Part 3 will include more flapping, another fight, and much more Dread Pirate Roberts action.