For the last 9 years, I have heard and seen these infamous pelicans as they stop for a very short while on their migration journey. Every year they take over the University Lakes at LSU for about a week or so, some days with way more than others. In the past, I would see them while driving down the interstate and when I would finally get a day to go over there, they would be gone.
This year I made it happen. It was a Tuesday morning and I was working from home. Around 9am I saw a fellow LPS member had made a Facebook post that they were out. I immediately grabbed my cameras and headed for the lakes. I had not showered, I was only wearing jeans and a tee, no makeup or anything (I know that doesn’t sound important but it will become slightly more important later in the story).
I got out there and stopped at the location I knew best, as I am not very familiar with that area and for whatever reason, it confuses me. There were several other people out there and they were flying everywhere.
I start snapping immediately and quickly become mesmerized with how many of them there were. Hundreds of giant white birds just soaring over one small lake. COnstantly taking off and landing at another spot in the lake, even watching us as we all just stood there with our jaws open.
Shortly after I took these first few photos I was watching a group of them flying above. Honestly, I didn’t think they were straight over me, but I quickly learned they were. I felt something wet hit my head. I reached up and touched my head immediately knowing I get pooped on (this was not the first time a bird bombed me in the head). I touched and touched but never did find any bird crap, so I thought to myself, “well they are wet maybe it was just some water falling from them”. Sounded reasonable at the time. So I keep watching and kept shooting until all of a sudden I noticed they hit the camera.
Gross… I know right…so what did I do, I let it dry then used my tee to rub it off. No joke, that’s what I did. I have been waiting 9 years to catch these birds on camera, I wasn’t stopping now.
After about 30 minutes at that one spot, I decided to drive around the lake a little and see what other angles I could capture them at. I got back in my truck to drive around and noticed in the mirror that they did indeed bomb my head, and white bird crap in black hair…well it stands out. But it had already dried so I grabbed my comb out of my purse and brush it out the best I could because again, not stopping me now.
At the next spot I stopped at, there was a large group of them all huddled together just resting and I was standing behind some beautiful fall foliage. It was here that I capture my favorite shot of the day.
At this point, I decided to leave and head downtown to see if there were any possibly hanging out at the lakes by the state capitol. As I was headed that way I came across one last spot where the pelicans were right at the coast. I stop and sat out on the ground and watched them and snapped as many photos as I could.
There I was, face buried in my camera, not showered, no makeup, jeans and a tee with bird poop on my camera, in my hair and now, on my shirt. When I catch a glimpse of a woman with a microphone and a video camera. Sure enough, the news ahd caught me out there as they were interviewing everyone sitting in that particular spot. The woman was very sweet and asked if she could interview me. Even after telling her that I had been crapped on, and was ditching work to do this, she still made me the center of her new clip. Thankfully, looking slightly better than I felt and not showing the bird crap. Below was the news clip. The poop, the ditching work, getting caught on the news unshowered and gross, well worth it. Even if I didn’t have a way to catch a single photo of this day, it was well worth it all. So beautiful.