Our afternoon in the delightful town of Santa Cruz led us on a lazy stroll after a fabulous lunch time meal.  Vistas of the coast, sail boats and sea otters relaxed our bodies.  We turned our attention to a local gift store along the port.

Before we could enter the shop we had a strange and wonderful greeter.  Yes, it had two legs.  But, no it was not human.

Instead, feathers decked this unusual creature.  Its beak is long and its head sustained by a skinny neck.  Webbed feet gave it a steady stance.  This was a brown pelican.

For  years I have carried my camera while traversing the sands of many ocean shores.  Even on boats and ships that have navigated the coastlines, I have had one camera or another that I pointed skyward but always too late to capture an image of the peculiar pelican.  It is one of those common sights that in the back of my mind, I wanted to capture in a number of digital images.

Some times this bird seems ungainly and clumsy.  But, in flight is soars swiftly and in perfect formation with its companions.  Landing is a mess as it splashes down with quite the commotion.  Still, those are just memories without even a blurry shot of this remarkable bird.

Finally, I was up close and very personal with critter.  But, my Nikon was not with me.  At least I could use my cellphone and capture this feathery bird on digital file.

The store clerk was trying to keep it out of her store.  She laughed when I asked her to let me first take its picture.  Slowly she gave me a little leeway. 

Then, after a few poses, the pelican saw its chance.  While the clerk visited with me, the bird did a swift end-around on the humans in its way.  It waddled through the store.

It was hungry and was foraging for food.  Many of  the  fish in the nearby river and ocean have been depleted by the otters.  There was no longer enough for the pelicans to harvest.

Now, hungry birds were frequenting human establishments in the hunt for sustaining meals.  This pelican was not at all threatened by my presence.  Hunger does that to most living creatures.

The clerk warned me not to get too close.  This bird she said was so hungry that it would easily mistake my shiny camera for a fish and go after it.  So with my final photo of the bird looking as if it were shopping for a hat, I checked this subject off of my camera-to-shoot list.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography