Monday, November 24, 2008

Bird Photography Weekly #13

Unfortunately I missed last week. I was doing other things on Monday and after Tuesday was recovering from an infection due to this evil cat.

This week, I'll share the Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
It's the most common across North America, however it's not the first cormorant I saw. The Brandt's Cormorants were the first I noticed. That was easy to see of course, it was breeding season and they had this brilliant blue gular area.
A couple weeks ago on a walk around Vasona Lake, right before I spotted the Osprey, my mom and I noticed all these dark spots on the lake. With her handy binoculars and my handy 100-400mm lens, we quickly id'd them as Double-cresteds.

They first were headed north and were joined by a few others flying south.

A closer look at them reveals that they weren't dark enough to be adults, and my guess is that they are mostly 2nd year, with maybe some 1st years, and some of the late-comers were the adults.

Here's one landing. Looks like they use the tail to start braking and then the feet. It has a pretty light front, so I'd say this was a juvenile too.

Then, after this guy/gal below landed...

they switched directions and swam south!

That was funny watching their behavior. They periodically dove for food, one at a time. It didn't appear they were catching much.


Vickie said...

It must have been fun to see so many in one place and watch them dive. Nice post.

Kathiesbirds said...

Cormorants or clowns? Which is it? With that behavior, it could be both! What a comical bunch they are!

Leedra said...

This is a neat post. Love the photos.

Sparverius said...

I love seeing cormorants. They remind me of dinosaurs. Sitting low in the water, long, thick necks, big bills... they are just cool looking.

Bernie Krausse said...

That's quite the flock. Great capture of the Double Crested Landing.

mick said...

Great photos and very interesting birds.

RuthieJ said...

We see the DC Cormorants here in Minnesota too--lots of times perched in trees. I always have to look really close when I see them swimming (just to make sure they aren't loons)

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

The fourth photo is really superb..capturing the Cormorant as it is landing. Love it!

Red said...

Hi Vickie, thanks :) Yes it was fun to see them altogether like that. I have to admit, it's rare for me to see solitary cormorants. I guess it's my location.

Kathie, ever since you wrote that, everytime I see a cormorant picture pop up on my screen saver, I keep thinking clown, and I do have a few other pictures of a Brandt's baby clowning around.

Thanks Leedra! I noticed today that you also captured some DC's while at Seminole.

I agree Sparverius, they are cool looking. So awkward, yet so amazing.

Thank you very much Bern! I was in luck that more than one of them - possibly 1/2 a dozen - landed with a good space of time between them so I could double check my camera settings.

Thanks Mick! Are there related cormorants in Australia?

Ruthie: I'll have to look up loons. We probably get them here, they most likely aren't all that common, especially compared to cormorants.

Thank you Bob and Cynthia! Part pure luck and part patience. I think luck had the greater advantage.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy your meals :)

Mary said...

They do seem goofy :o)

I've never seem a Cormorant. Great photos!



Current skin is Spring Green 2009
Best viewed on Firefox at 1024x768, larger or widescreen.
If you must use Internet Explorer, update to IE8 or the sidebars will look funky.