So today’s photos all have a central theme–birds flying overhead or flying away. It is a challenge to get a good picture of a bird as they’re taking off or landing on the water or a songbird flying between different bushes. Though this is one challenge I’m willing to accept–getting a good picture of a bird in flight (or possibly taking off or landing).
Since cormorants haven’t left town yet, I’ve managed to get several pictures of them in flight, taking off, and landing in the water. Now that I’ve seen where they roost, I know better than to make the assumption that any large low-swimming bird is automatically a loon (which is what I did when I first saw them on the water).
So here was one that was flying low over the lake, but around the little island in the middle of the lake. This is where they had found a tree to roost in (the geese were “nice” to share their island with the migrating cormorants).
I have enough pictures of the great blue heron that I’m probably going to dedicated an photography page to this beautiful animal. Since there are at least four herons at the lake, I have pictures of them hunting, standing, and in flight (as I’ve accidentally rousted them from their stations several times during my walks).
So the shovelers decided that they didn’t want their photos to be taken (or they decided to leave before the storms really came through).
One bird that this back for a good six months or so–is the turkey vulture. With living close to the lake, we usually always see at least one of them circling in the sky daily. Hopefully this summer I can get a closer picture of one.
One goal is to see how many different birds I can get pictures of–both perching somewhere and then in flight. With the migration season upon us again–there are numerous different bird species coming through and I’m thinking that a cool afternoon is the perfect time to walk around the lake again and explore to see what birds and other critters I can get pictures of.
So today’s photographs are from the weekend walk up at Boomer Lake. It was the first time that I was actually able to get some good pictures of some of the migrating birds. One thing that I had on my “bird bucket list” was to get a good picture of the cormorant. I had thought it was the double-crested cormorant for awhile, but according to the weekend paper, it has actually been the neotropic cormorant that I’d been seeing.
So what are some interesting facts?
They can sit low in the water like a loon (I’ve mistaken a cormorant swimming for a loon several times this winter. I only knew the difference when they took off into flight).
They can be found sitting in trees (I was amazed when I saw
them in the trees the first time this winter—I don’t usually associate aquatic
birds with sitting in trees; even though I’ve seen the great blue heron fly up
into the trees as well).
They eat mainly small fish, which they catch underwater.
Though they can also eat tadpoles, frogs, and aquatic insects.
This is the only cormorant species know to plunge-dive to
catch fish. It isn’t very successful as it only catches 1 in every 6-10 plunges
(and it only plunges from less than 2 feet over the water).
During mating season, they have a clutch of 3-4 eggs (on
average). The young are able to swim and dive by two months, stay with the
parents for another three weeks and then are independent by three months. The nests
of the birds (as they are a colony bird) are usually in trees or bushes (either
live or dead), and if they’re on an island the nests could be on the ground (if
there are no suitable trees or bushes).