Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

May 9, 2012

Neotropic Cormorant – Two Views

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 7:38 pm
Neotropic Cormorant

Neotropic Cormorant

Nikon D300, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E III (2x), ISO 800, 1/640th second at f/8, 4/4/2012

As a beginning birder back in New Jersey I didn’t pay a lot of attention to cormorants. They didn’t seem all that attractive: they’d either swim away and dive out of sight, or they’d line up on a distant sandbar to dry their wings. The default species was Double-crested, while in winter we could find a few Great Cormorants from “across the pond” mixed in. But to me they were pretty much  ungainly dark birds seen at a distance.

Moving to the southwest made cormorants interesting again since I had the chance to add another species to my life list – the Neotropic Cormorant. It was one of the first species I chased to see when it was reported at Patagonia Lake State Park about three hours south of Phoenix. That was in 1994. Now the Neotropic Cormorant has displaced the Double-crested from most places around Phoenix, including the Gilbert Water Ranch where I do a lot of my photography and these two images were made.

And now that I spend a lot more time with each bird and less time chasing check-marks for my list I am able to appreciate cormorants for their own beauty and ways. In good light (like the first image) the characteristic sharp point to the back of the beak can be seen as well as the white border – these are instant indicators that this is a Neotropic and not a Double-crested. The light reveals that this cormorant isn’t just a dark blob, and the colored ripples help give interest to the water.

Neotropic Cormorant

Neotropic Cormorant

Nikon D300, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E III (2x), ISO 400, 1/1000th second at f/5.6, 5/7/2012

This second image shows a Neotropic Cormorant on a favorite roost – a bare branch of a large tree where up to a couple dozen cormorants can be seen at times. This image shows the long tail characteristic of the species, but unless it is seen with a Double-crested it isn’t obviously longer on its own.

For more views of this species use the search box on this blog to locate previous posts featuring them – all from the Gilbert Water Ranch.

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