Double-Crested Cormorants & The American Robin

I have previously posted on Rudy, our visiting Ruddy Duck in the community marina, who hung around for a couple of weeks.  It was pretty nice to get to watch this duck at such a close range for so long.  Well, he has moved on, and we have another interesting duck that has taken his place, a Double-Crested Cormorant.  A 32″ tall quirky-looking, black duck (except the first year who is more brown with a pale throat), with green eyes & a bright orange beak, the Double-Crested Cormorant is a very good swimmer & diver, and feeds primarily on fish.  They are easily adaptable to both salt and fresh waters, and can be found foraging in the large oceans, a large river or bay, or in waters as small as a stream, creek or swamp.

Our visiting cormorant has been hanging around our marina both mornings & evenings for over a week, and is very bashful & disappears underwater to reappear at a safer distance when anyone comes by.  I’ve stayed back myself to not spook him and got lucky only a few times before he was gone!  One morning, I was especially lucky with the first series of photos when he popped up after a dive with a fish.  🙂  He quickly flipped it up and into his month, swallowing that whole fish in one big gulp!

Double-Crested Cormorant and Breakfast!

Flipping it up!

And into the mouth….

And now the big gulp!

He then turned and gave me a very nice pose before diving again.  To heck with me, he had more breakfast to catch!

Double-Crested Cormorant

Another day on a cloudy evening, I snapped a few more of him.  It was in the next two shots that I actually noticed just how sharp the tip of a cormorant’s beak is, which answered my own question on how was he so lucky on snagging that big fish the other day!

Double-Crested Cormorant

Double-Crested Cormorant

In the mornings, from my balcony I watch the cormorants flying by either in a small flock or just a loner.  It is always a pretty contrast to see them against a blue sky with the rising sun shining on them.

Four Adults & One First Year Double-Crested Cormorants

Double-Crested Cormorants

Now a switch from the water birds to land birds, the American Robin is my next share and is a common resident in our community.  At 10″ tall, they have a greyish back and rusty orange underside, and are a familiar bird to all.  I’ve come across a nest on my loop and attempted to take a photo of the momma on egg-duty at a distance with a teleconverter attached to my telephoto lens.  I was surprised how neat the shot turned out.

American Robin on egg-duty

When photographing a robin, I’ve noticed they appear to be giving a mean, angry glare.  But for once, I captured this fella without the normal facial expression.  In fact, he appears to be down right happy, doesn’t he??!!!

American Robin

An American Robin breaking out a song!

American Robin in Song with a Smile!

As I’ve been typing this, I’ve gotten up a few times to check the condition of our skies for the “super” moon tonight.  Unfortunately, we have a full sky of clouds.  😦  Bummer.  I’ll keep checking for a bit but I have a feeling I’ll be enjoying it through some of your lens in your next post!

Have a pleasant Sunday and a marvelous week!  And as always, thank you for stopping by!

18 thoughts on “Double-Crested Cormorants & The American Robin

  1. Excellent photos, especially of the robin. The cormorants tend to be shy as they were hunted nearly to extinction, not for food directly, but because fishermen believe that cormorants are responsible when the number of fish they catch goes down. That, and their droppings where they nest kills the trees that the nests are in. I think that nearly every year, there is a story about some one caught trying to wipe out the cormorants on one or more of the islands here in the Great Lakes.for one of those reasons or the other.

    • Much thanks Jerry! Wow, what info on the cormorant, thanks for sharing. They and the mute swans both have to watch their backs these days. Trees dying from the cormorant’s droppings is really interesting, I wonder why so potent for tree death! I had read that another previous problem in the Great Lakes region causing reduced numbers had been contaminants in the waters causing thin egg shells, crossed beaks, & brain abnormalities; but that the successful clean-ups and forced regulations have assisted the cormorant’s successful comeback in huge numbers. I had no idea about the cormorant’s struggle to stay alive til now. Thanks again Jerry! 🙂

  2. Very impressive set of photos you have there Donna! I couldn’t help reading a comment about the cormorants. It’s very strange that droppings from a fish eating bird would kill a tree. You’re talking about “guano” the best fertilizer ever! It’s the best organic fertilizer in existence!
    There’re ulterior reasons for the decline of the cormorants. Thanks for your sharing! 🙂

    • Thank you very much HJ! Maybe the fish being eaten by the cormorants were also becoming contaminated in the waters, causing the deadly poop?!! I’ve always thought it was good stuff too.

  3. Had thought the cormorant was an interesting bird, but I did not know just HOW interesting until now. As usual Donna, you supply great photos and education all at once! The singing robin is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you very much Beth! I see some of these birds I know nothing about so often, I’ve become so curious myself on learning about them, so I figured I’ll help everyone enjoy them maybe just a bit more knowing a thing or two.

    • I almost checked out the nest this morning but still haven’t had a sunny morning including today since that shot, so I decided to wait another day. I don’t have to get real close, just waiting for sunlight to be peaking over the townhouses into the bushes to give me better chance. I don’t want to distress Momma!

  4. What a lucky opportunity to see the cormorant catch and eat a fish! The double crested cormorant is another bird we only see during migration, but I have been lucky to see them in large groups (over 100) while migrating. I love how they swim with just their heads rising above the surface of the water.

    • With the great sunlight, I was getting some quick nice shots before he’d dive, then I’d wait and anticipate where he’d resurface. It’s never where you’d think, LOL. When I spotted him back up with the fish, I couldn’t believe it. As quick as they are, he was pretty cordial to give me a few poses before gulping and diving again. They are fun to watch!

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