Amazing

By Jos Weale


This is the awesome moment a squadron of pelicans were snapped ‘SURFING’ on a real life Mexican wave – in practically perfect synchronisation.

PIC BY RAY POWNALL/MERCURY PRESS 

The daring squad fearlessly faced the foam off the coast of Mazatlan, Mexico, skimming the water and chasing the powerful current.

The surfer dude pelicans were spotted by retired paramedic Ray Pownall, 72, as he enjoyed an early morning beach stroll while on holiday in April this year (2017).

And the adrenaline junkie birds apparently couldn’t get enough of the surf, repeatedly flying back to catch another big wave, says the former paramedic.

Ray, from St Helens, Merseyside, said: “They were doing all kinds of tricks. They are very, very big birds with a terrific wing span. You could see they’re really enjoying themselves.

“It looked to me as if they were surfing on top of the wave. They were riding the currents.

PIC BY RAY POWNALL/MERCURY PRESS

“They were playing follow the leader too. Then as the waves were breaking they broke up, and they’d fly back around and do it again.

“The interesting part was they were so close to the surface of that wave. It’s incredible. It’s a very strong current so they were very close to being swept away.”

Ray says the flock of birds were around 15 to 20 in number, though claims he could only manage to snap a few of them in action without his wide camera lens.

Ray, who says he has enjoyed wildlife photography for years, said: “I was taking a morning stroll at around 6am, I had the beach all to myself when they came in. It was only when they got close that I realised what they were.

PIC BY RAY POWNALL/MERCURY PRESS 

“That time there were around 15 to 20 of them, I couldn’t fit them all in the shot.

“They were there every morning. Sometimes it was just two or three of them there, other times it was around 15 or 20.

“It’s one of those things where it’s about being in the right place at the right time. I felt lucky to see it, it’s one of those once in a lifetime things.

“I spoke to a few people about it back at the resort and a few people started going down there with cameras too.”

PIC BY RAY POWNALL/MERCURY PRESS 

And Ray claims he shares the pelicans’ daredevil mentality, striving to get up close and personal with wildlife around the world to get a good shot.

Ray, who says he will be undertaking a road trip around Alaska with his fiancé this month to take more wildlife shots, said: “I’ve travelled all over the world, I don’t stop.

“I’ve got some nice pictures of coyotes and black bears too. Sometimes I get a little bit too close. I’ve got so close to a bear before that I could smell its breath. I love it.”