Brown Pelicans at Rialto Beach
Brown Pelicans and Sea Stacks

Brown Pelicans at Rialto Beach

Brown Pelicans are one of my favorite birds to photograph. I had photographed them previously in Florida and California but until recently, didn’t know you could find them in Washington where I live. It turns out large flocks hang out on Washington’s Pacific Ocean beaches. Here’s some recent shots of Brown Pelicans at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park.

Brown Pelicans soaring over the Pacific Ocean at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park.
Brown Pelicans Over the Pacific Ocean

Rialto Beach is a wonderful place to visit. A short easy walk from the parking lot gets you to the beach and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and a number of sea stacks. For bird lovers, there’s also a chance to see Brown Pelicans during the summer months. The day I was there in early August there was a flock of at least 50 Brown Pelicans at Rialto Beach. The birds were soaring over the water and some were fishing.

My biggest disappointment was that I was primarily focused on landscape photography for this trip. So I hadn’t brought my longest lens (Nikon 500mm PF) which would have helped to get some better closeups of the birds. I did get some great environmental shots with my wider lenses as shown int the photos above and below. I will however have to make a return trip with a telephoto lens for some closeups!

A group of Brown Pelicans over the Pacific Ocean from Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park.
Brown Pelicans at Rialto Beach.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. hello. I found your blog when I was trying to find out if brown pelicans were recent to the Olympic national park. I grew up here I’ve been coming here for years to go camping, and no one in my family can remember seeing brown pelicans here in the past, I do not remember seeing brown pelicans as I was growing up in Port Angeles or coming here to kalaloch Beach every year. I’m curious if this is fairly recent, or at least in such numbers? I know the Olympic peninsula does not share all the same things, such as gray squirrels, and possum, that are found in the seattle side.

    1. Hi Melissa. I think Brown Pelicans have been spending the summer on the Washington coast for a long time but I’m not sure exactly how long. You wouldn’t typically find them around Port Angeles and the parts of Olympic National Park that run along the Strait of Juan De Fuca but they are fairly common at a number of locations on the Pacific Ocean beaches. My guess is that the number of Pelicans has however increased over the last 10+ years or so as Brown Pelicans were on the state endangered species list until 2016. So there are probably many more than we would have seen on the coast 20 or 30 years ago. Mike

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