Waterbirding at the Lake

A few weeks ago, the other half and I were walking the lake when we saw some old friends we hadn’t seen in a while:

Yep, it was our buddy the blue heron. He flew up next to us and then started croaking at us. We weren’t, however, fishing, which supports the theory that we were scaring the fish toward him. Too much laughter, I suppose.

We also saw our old nemesis, the cormorant:

I’d been seeing a black flash sitting on this stick for a few days and finally got to get out to the fishing finger nearest it to find him. Unfortunately, he’d also brought two of his closest friends.

The first one is actually a neotropic cormorant. The other two are double-crested cormorants. Much bigger, much evil-er (Yes, that’s a word). Why do I think this? This nifty guide shows the major differences: size, tail length and shape, and the shape of the gular pouch (think the big pouch on pelicans). Neotropic cormorants have an acute angle to their gular pouch, while double-crested cormorants have a more square angle.

We also got to see lots of coots and ring-billed gulls (none of which had any crappie this time) hiding on one of the low islands exposed by the drought.

Yes, I know, they’re not great pictures. But until I am genetically engineered to have some photographic talent, that’s what I get. Besides, you can tell they’re birds, right? You can just trust me on what kind of birds they are.

Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see some more birds closer to home…

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4 responses to “Waterbirding at the Lake

  1. Ah, I love cormorants! They are so cool with their wing drying habit. Have you read “Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds” by Lyanda Haupt? She makes them sound so much more awesome than most people think. I worked as a ranger at the WA coast and those were one of my favorite birds to watch.

    • I have not read it, but on your advice I looked it up. It’ll be next on my list. 🙂 I do think their antics are fun; they are very interesting to watch. However, they do have a tendency to scare some of the other birds from where they want to fish, which isn’t very fraternal at all. Do you mind if I ask what park you worked at? We wouldn’t mind a trip up there sometime to remind us what rain looks like.

  2. Nice Waterbirding blog. I enjoy reading your Blogs and wanted to say thank you for the excellent job you did keeping us updated on the Birding the Net sites. On the note of photography, (By the way, If you get the right camera, no photography talent is needed…well, not much anyway!) We have a full size Canon digital SLR that weighs a ton and takes excellent shots, but we also have a much smaller Canon Powershot digital camera that is very, very good for the price. (much cheaper than a full size SLR) We live in North Carolina, near the coast, and I enjoy nature photography. I photograph anything from birds, butterflies, and flowers, to mushrooms and trees. I have found that the secret to good nature photography is a sharp focus, strong zoom (for BIRDS!), and (for tiny mushrooms and such) a clear macro lens.—Rita

    • Thank you! I appreciate the complement and am glad I could be of assistance. Hopefully they do it again next year with the kinks worked out. Hehe, I’m actually using a Canon Powershot 120IS right now, if that tells you how bad at photography I am. 😉 I’d really like a Nikon 5100 or a Canon Rebel, but school has to come before fun for the moment. Thanks for the tips! The in-laws are really into photography, but we don’t get the chance to see them often enough for me to get too much help from them (and I do need a lot of it!).

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