Today I am delighted to share two images capturing the graceful landing of an American White Pelican on the waters of Sally Jones Lake. Located on Oklahoma’s scenic Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, this freshwater lake has recently become home to a flock of these striking birds—much to the delight of a wildlife photographer like myself.

An American White Pelican Lands In The Water With Wings Outstretched

An American White Pelican Lands In The Water With Wings Outstretched

As I watched from the shores along the auto tour road, this pelican approached, outstretching its immense wingspan of up to nine feet as it prepared for touchdown. American White Pelicans have a very unique landing style—they spread their wings wide to gently ease onto the water, landing feet-first and sliding elegantly to a stop.

An American White Pelican Lands On The Lake

An American White Pelican Lands On Sally Jones Lake

Just this week alone I’ve had the pleasure of observing and writing about this flock of remarkable seasonal visitors. In one post titled “American White Pelicans in Flight at Sally Jones Lake,” I shared shots of them gliding gracefully over the serene waters. Another post titled “American White Pelican’s Unexpected Pastime” documented one curious juvenile playing with a small root ball—tossing and catching it in its large beak. And in “An American White Pelican in Action,” I spotlighted their amusing fishing technique, scooping prey into their sizable pouch-like beaks. It’s been an incredibly fruitful few days of photographing these striking birds and detailing their behaviors through my blog for what short time they’ve spent along the refuge’s causeway.

It’s been an incredible few weeks observing these pelicans from the Sally Jones Causeway before they continue their migration journey. Each sighting has been special, but today’s majestic landing shots have made my week! I feel honored to witness and capture scenes of nature like this along Oklahoma’s beautiful refuge lands. Stay tuned right here—who knows what amazing wildlife moments are just over the horizon!

Image Information: First Image

  • Date: 11/28/23
  • Time: 10:08 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: Canon RF 800mm F11
  • ISO: 1250
  • Aperture: 11
  • Shutter: 1/2000
  • Exp. Comp.: -0.7
  • Lens (mm): 800
  • Program Mode: Manual