Tag Archives: Double-Crested Cormorant

Bird Island is for the birds

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Bird Island sign, in the Indian River Lagoon just off Sewall’s Point, Florida.

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Double-crested Cormorant on top. Probably a juvenile, with the buff-colored breast and neck.

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The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.

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A sleek, aquadynamic shape.

Birds of the refuge, Sanibel

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This morning around 8 a.m. we drove the one-way road through J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge here on Sanibel Island, where we are staying for a few days.

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We saw this Yellow-crowned Night Heron in mangroves near a short boardwalk.

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Look at that red eye.

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It was overcast and the light wasn’t great, especially looking up, but heck! here’s a Red-bellied Woodpecker anyway.

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Lots of nonchalant rabbits, munching here and there.

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Dogs are allowed in the refuge, in cars or on leashes, so we brought ours.  He’s cool with birds but the rabbits were torture.

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Spotted Sandpiper, my second I’ve ever IDed. The first was two days ago.

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John spotted it from pretty far off.

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A flock of Roseate Spoonbills and one cormorant looked like they were just waking up.

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The refuge is home for over 245 species of birds, according the the Ding Darling website. The Roseate Spoonbills are one of the Big 5 that attract birders to the refuge. We saw some birders with scopes set up, watching this flock.

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One by one, some of the spoonbills took off and flew away. We were watching them from the observation tower.

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Bird coming towards us over the water.

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Green Heron perched just below the tower. You can really see some green in this one.

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Another colored heron, the Little Blue, was waiting just at the bottom of the tower.

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There is something a tiny bit comical about this bird. It seems poised between different feelings, stuck in indecision.

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Hey, bird.

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A decent look at the spoonbill’s bill.

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On the side of the road in the mangroves, a Snowy Egret was standing on one leg as birds are sometimes wont to do. Love the bright yellow feet.

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Not many cars on a July morning. That one ahead was driving slowly past a white bird.

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It was a Great Egret stalking along in the grass.

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When the car drove on, it walked towards us.

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And past.

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The egret was keeping an eye out for lizards and other delicacies.

Birds were my tasty breakfast delicacies! Figuratively, of course.

Fort Morgan

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The nonchalant cormorant.

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Looking north toward Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan, Alabama.

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We drove from Gulf Shores out to Fort Morgan because we do love a nice peninsula. Breezy and chilly, but sunny.

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Oil rigs in the bay.

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Shrimp boats too.

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Which way to the beach? More Double-crested Cormorants.

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There is a dog beach at Fort Morgan. Radar was happy about that. He loves the beach. We went on the beach across from our rental too, because it’s off season and nobody was around.

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Nothing like a good stick.

Sometimes it’s hard to get good bird photos when traveling with a dog, especially one shaped like a bit like a wolf. At least he (mostly) doesn’t chase birds. He prefers squirrels and balls.

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Just offshore were 7 or 8 Bufflehead ducks, disappearing now and then under water. This is a male.

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This is a female.

A buoyant, large-headed duck that abruptly vanishes and resurfaces as it feeds, the tiny Bufflehead spends winters bobbing in bays, estuaries, reservoirs, and lakes. Males are striking black-and white from a distance. A closer look at the head shows glossy green and purple setting off the striking white patch. Females are a subdued gray-brown with a neat white patch on the cheek.

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Bufflehead chase.

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On land at Fort Morgan, an Amy-attracting sign.

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The migrants included my old friends the Killdeer, bobbing, running, calling and flying…

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Killdeer flies off.

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And my other old friends the Yellow-rumped Warblers.

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Show us your butt!

Surf-fishing cormorant

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Moody morning skies and tossing sea yesterday. Bird flies low.

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It’s a cormorant, landing in the churning surf.

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The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.

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This one was under water more than above water. Finally caught a fish, swallowed it, and flew off.

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Also spotted on Santa Lucea Beach yesterday morning: a flock of fishermen. I spoke with one of them. He said they were catching big bluefish. He said he cleans them, freezes them, and when he goes home to Michigan he has a big fish fry for 200 friends. Nice tradition!

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Looking south: a beach house, the House of Refuge tower, and a lone fisherman on the rocks.

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It was too rough to swim but Radar had fun chasing the ball in the sand. It rained on us a few minutes after this photo.

Do not fetch the bird

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We surprised a cormorant, fishing in a spot right near where we were walking on the old rail bed through Hampton Marsh.

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Instead of flying away, the cormorant paddled off. The dog decided to give chase.

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The bird hit the spot where the tidal current rips fast under an old bridge.

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The dog is a good swimmer but I thought that current might be too much for him and he’d be swept down the river through the marsh then out to sea.

“Radar, come back!”

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Good boy.

Sea seekers

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Gull (Herring?)

Not exactly in my backyard, but just a few miles away.

Eighty degrees inland and 70 right along the water today, with sunny skies, low humidity, and big waves rolling in for the surfers. It was impossible to resist the coast.

The Wall, North Beach

The Wall, North Beach in Hampton, N.H.

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A few miles north, a surfer at Bass Beach.

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A lone cormorant was fishing nearby.

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These sleek, black seabirds look like they are wearing wetsuits.

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Dive!

From All About Birds:

The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.