Fresh off a rare hammerhead sighting last month, charter Captain Michael Patrick got lucky again Friday with a group of anglers aboard his 24-foot Silverhawk, “Our Angels.”
“I kinda just saw it and thought that it was a pelican, but I had never seen one here before,” he said. “The only ones I’ve ever seen were in Florida, or on a cruise.”
Local birders say such a sighting is uncommon, but not unheard of.
The New York Times had reporting in July of 1992 that pelicans were starting to be spotted with increased regularity back then, 24 years ago.
The article mentioned that the large numbers of pelican appearances along the South Shore were setting off speculation they would be ranging north for good and would become a common sight, much like with the cardinal.
Although that doesn’t appear to have happened, the birds are certainly around.
According the American Birding Association’s nationwide database, there have been two recent sightings off Long Island, one On Dune Road in Hampton Bays on July 26 and a pair spotted near the Ponquogue Bridge in Shinnecock Bay on July 29.
The Times reported that brown pelican breeding grounds ranged from Florida to North Carolina, and would often be seen in the Northeast after tropical storms in the South.