Sometimes a photographer strikes gold when out and about in the wild, and the result can be hilarious or adorable or even touching.
Spectacular, poignant, hilarious—unaltered and unposed: These animals are putting their best foot, and face, forward. On the following pages id presents some of the finest nature photography of the past year.
THE SKY HAS NO (WEIGHT) LIMITS
Despite its substantial size, the Dalmatian pelican is an elegant bird once it is aloft. But first it has to get there. A British photographer captured this impressive specimen taking off from Lake Kerkini in Greece after the water froze over for the first time in 16 years. Carol Steele, who was happy to have her camera handy at the time, recalls: “These birds regaled us with hilarious antics, sliding across the frozen lake and attempting to retain control as they took off and landed.” Pelecanus crispus is biggest bird in the pelican family, with a wingspan of 11.5 feet. The size of this pelican’s bill is only outstripped by that of its Australian cousin, Pelecanus conspicillatus. The Dalmatian pelican eats a diet of fish and must consume about 2.5 pounds per day to obtain the calories it needs. As the bird is slowly swimming along, it abruptly dunks its head underwater to scoop up fish and a large amount of water. Draining the water from the sides of its pouch, it then swallow the fish whole, though it sometimes saves its meal for later. Pelicans are highly social creatures, but the Dalmatian member of the family may be the least social, nesting in small groups or even preferring to remain alone. But when they’re flying in a flock, they gracefully synchronize their movements as they put memories of awkward maneuvers on icy lakes behind them.