The American White Pelicans are back for the summer. I've seen them now the last few times out both at Fernhill Wetlands and for the first time at RNWR. Just past marker 11, out in a mostly dry South Big Lake I saw a flock of about 100 of them huddled together. They looked somewhat restless so I took a quick shot of them, then stopped my car and jumped out to get a clearer shot over the tall grasses. But, by the time I got them in view, they were in flight.
During the breeding season the upper mandible develops a fibrous plate called a nuptial tubercle as can be seen in the image above. It is between 1 to 3 inches in diameter. This nuptial tubercle falls off when mating season is over and is unique to the American White Pelican.