Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Charismatic Cormorants

     Cormorants are one of my favorite birds- I have a lot of favorites, but I do adore these birds. They are just so funny looking, with their odd webbed feet that they can perch with quite well, their snake necks, and feathers that appear almost scaly. My favorite feature are their icy blue eyes, you don't notice them unless you are viewing them fairly up close.
     I used to work with a double crested cormorant and he was just such a ham, playing with your cleaning tools, tossing them in the air and catching them, like it would with a fish. If you are lucky enough to hear them, they have this guttural belch-like call, giving the cormorant I used to work with the name "Excuse Me."
     I saw quite a few birds today and tried out a new app on my phone that syncs up to ebird, making tallying and accurate counts easier. It also adds numbers for you, you just input the data. The app is called BirdLog NA, it cost a small amount, but all you need is an ebird account (free) to use it and get started.
     Of all the birds I saw, the cormorants were the most photogenic, and quite few of them congregated on the lullwater, actively coming up from dives with fish, tossing them about to position them before sending it down the hatch.
Sitting in the morning sun, and oh, those eyes!
There are some large piles of sandy soil on well house drive, just up from the picnic tables and next to some containers, the piles are active with birds. Small puddles form and birds bathe and drink, they land on the mounds of soil in full view, just standing here I viewed 9 species of bird on or around these mounds, including this hermit thrush.
My first Brooklyn red-shouldered hawk. It's a very cropped photo, but the white crescents near the tips of the wing are a field mark that is characteristic of this migrating buteo.
Seeing double double crested cormorants on the lullwater!

The ruddy ducks tend to stay far from the lake shore, but this little female was close, diving and resurfacing only about 7 or 10 feet from the shore line.