On a calm, warm day, the waters of Snake Bight blend into pale sky. White profiles of egrets dot the horizon. Their stately movements are accomplished without sound. Turkey Vultures, forever waiting for some biological calamity, soar in stark silence over surrounding forest.
The scene would seem entirely tranquil if not for nine White Pelicans swimming near the bight's edge. They are feeding. They utter no vocalizations; their bodies glide with swan-like grace. But they produce incredible racket. The birds form a semicircle, and move deliberately shoreward. Simultaneously, their four-foot wings pummel the surface. Water churns and sprays as the feathered crescent herds dozens of fish into its center. The pelicans lower their bills and capture some fish in their net-like pouches. Before swallowing, they hold their bills vertically, allowing as much as three gallons of water to drain between closed mandibles.
The bounty of this communal effort is enjoyed by another Snake Bight resident. An immature Brown Pelican, still learning to feed with its parents' efficiency, dives into the melee. After several attempts, it flaps away--with a fish flopping madly in its gullet.