Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poor Pelican

Brett and I went out to do a routine check for turtles nesting last night. As we headed around the northern part of Crab Island we noticed a croc up on the beach. It seemed hesitant to leave but as we drove closer on the quad it ran back to the water. When we got up to his tracks we looked up the beach to find a dead pelican on the ground. (For a side note the Australian Pelican is much larger than its relative seen in America. This massive bird has a wingspan of 2.3-2.5 metres). Of course we had to have a closer look. We found that the 3.5 metre croc went up the beach about 55 metres to the point where the attack occurred. What a commotion it must have been, there were scuffle marks in the sand, blood, and feathers. So when we saw the croc he was dragging the pelican down the beach but dropped it in order to get to the water before we arrived. He dragged the pelican about 30 metres before he reluctantly dropped it. We saw bite marks on the pelicans back and neck. Either the croc snuck up and attacked the pelican or a group of pelicans landed near the croc and startled him which caused the attack. Whichever way the attack occurred the poor pelican was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This morning we saw the pelican still on the beach in the same spot, so we must have startled the croc enough for him to drop the pelican and not return. You never know what you are going to find on Crab Island that’s for sure.

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