Baleen. When you see this, you believe it to be a variety of cheese-laden baleen. Surely this is baleen, no? Or perhaps the soft parts of a seagoing mollusc...just another friendly clam. Hello clam friend. Or is it just layers and layers of delicious sherbert lasagna?
There seems to be a large hole involved. Maybe we see a sea cucumber butthole? What's in that hole? A little fishy? Some have suggested that it is the armpit of an elderly birdwatcher; elderly birdwatchers can frequently be identified by their vibrant armpit colour, everybody knows that.
Nah, you are looking at none of those things. Just a wrinkly American White Pelican pouch.
This is one of the wild American White Pelicans that comes by to visit Hank at Lake Merritt for part of the year. Once settled in they take a clue from Hank and abandon all fear of humans, and instead attempt to get handouts of succulent Tilapia from the staff at the lake' nature center. I'm used to seeing Brown Pelicans stoop this low, but it is an odd thing to be looking at wild white pelicans from a few feet way while it eagerly hangs its massive bill over the short fence in hopes of a fish treat. They are imposing birds, after all.
I don't often get to see how broad the mandible is on these birds, a perfect trap door for anything unfortunate enough to get caught in the bird's pouch.
Breast feathers. I find this image calming.
If you are ever lucky enough to get friendly with an American White Pelican, enjoy it! Despite the limited color palate, there is a lot to take in.