Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rare pelican sightings in the Tennessee River Gorge

We'd like to say a special, "Thank you" to Chattanooga photographer Bret Douglas for sharing these beautiful shots of American white pelicans that were seen recently in the Tennessee River Gorge. These gorgeous birds aren't usually seen near Chattanooga. In fact, their brief appearance here has been turning the heads of quite a few serious bird watchers.
According to Kevin Calhoon, the Aquarium's assistant curator of forests, these animals hardly ever appear in the Gorge. "They are a very rare species in Hamilton and Marion counties," said Calhoon. "They were seen all last week with a maximum number of ten. During that period, they seemed to spend most of their time below the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage facility near the Tennessee River Gardens."

Perhaps these guys were blown off course by the lines of thunderstorms that have swept through the area recently, or maybe they simply chose a different route.

Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer naturalist John Dever brought these images to our attention. Unfortunately these particular birds were not sighted during any excursions as they were spotted further downstream from the Explorer's normal route. But they are the kind of sightings Dever and others are constantly pointing out to passengers.

Want to learn more about American white pelicans? You can see their normal migratory patterns and even listen to their vocalizations on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

3 comments:

Brian said...

Beautiful!

bjburk said...

Thanks so very much for the interesting update ... I am so glad I have you on my Facebook page!

charmedbydawn said...

What fantastic photos for such a rare opportunity. Thank you for sharing!