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Pelicans make stop at Valencia golf course

Posted: November 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Ken Pratt takes photos of pelicans at Vista Valencia Golf Course on Tuesday morning.

 

Man-made bodies of water regularly draw migrating Canada geese, coots and ducks to the Santa Clarita Valley, but on Tuesday it was a small flock of American white pelicans that stopped at the Vista Valencia Golf Course and drew the attention of some golfers.

The big inland pelican, which can have a wingspan of 10 feet, flies inland to lakes in Nevada, Idaho and Utah in the summer but heads to the Southern California coast in the winter, said Joe LaFleur of betterbirdwatching.com. The black-and-white birds are cousins of the better-known but smaller brown pelican found along the California coast and is the second largest North American bird behind the California condor.

Russ Kimura, superintendent of Placerita Canyon Nature Center and Natural Area, said the Santa Clarita Valley’s lakes and ponds like Bridgeport in Valencia draw migrating birds because they’re on a major north-south flyway.

The pelicans fly a different route from the Great Basin to the coast but can venture inland just like seagulls, he said.

— Lila Littlejohn

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