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Posts Tagged ‘Double-crested Cormorant’

Early Friday morning I spotted this Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) at Horn Pond in Woburn, Massachusetts. Although the bird’s facial features were in the shadows, I was happy to be able to capture its distinctive hooked beak in this silhouetted view.

As many of you know, I try to find opportunities to capture nature images even when I am traveling. On Thursday I drove from Virginia to Massachusetts to attend a surprise 60th birthday party on Friday evening for one of my brothers. Although I was somewhat worn out from the drive, which took almost 12 hours thanks to numerous road construction projects and rush hour traffic in Boston, I was out on the trails of Horn Pond by 6:30 in the morning. In many ways immersing myself in nature helps to recharge my batteries as much as sleep does.

A few seconds after I spotted the cormorant, it sensed my presence and flew away. I was anticipating that it might do so and was able to capture this shot just as the bird was starting to take off.

Double-crested Cormorant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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As the waves washed over the Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) perched on a floating remnant of a tree, the solo bird looked like a shipwrecked sailor, adrift on a swamped, semi-submerged sailboat. My mind conjured up scenes from different movies with this theme.

A short time later, I encountered a basketball dashing up against the shore with each successive wave. As the ball slowly turned I caught sight of its faded lettering. Like Tom Hank’s companion in the movie Cast Away, the ball was labelled “Wilson.” Perhaps the shipwrecked cormorant had been engaging in lengthy conversations with this Wilson, as Tom Hanks did during the movie.

double-crested cormorant

Wilson

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I spotted this little family of Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge this past Monday. The adult seemed bothered by something and initIally cried out before finally taking off, leaving the younger cormorants temporarily by themselves.

I am not actually completely certain that this is a family unit, but I think it is a pretty safe assumption when I look at the way that the smaller ones are paying attention to the larger cormorant. It also appears to me that the the adult was potentially reacting to a perceived threat and flew off as a way of protecting the younger ones.

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Cormorants are usually really skittish. Even when they are fishing far away from the shore, they will usually take off as soon as they sense my presence. When I spotted the unmistakable silhouette of a cormorant perched on the remnants of a duck blind in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge this past Monday, I fully expected that it would fly away before I got within range to take a decent shot.

As I was approaching, I could see that it was a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)—juveniles are paler around the neck and breast than adults and have more exposed orange skin around the bill. Perhaps this young cormorant had not yet developed a fear of humans, but whatever the reasons was, the beautiful blue-eyed bird remained in place as I took some shots from different angles and was still there when I silently moved away.

 

Double-crested Cormorant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Its heavy weight and non-waterproof feathers cause the Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) to float really low on the water. The cormorant that I spotted yesterday in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, however, was even lower than usual, with most of its body almost completely submerged.

Double-crested Cormorant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Reduced to its essence, photography is all about light and shadows. Sometimes details are not even necessary to evoke a mood, a sense of the moment, as in this image of a Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) that I captured this past Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Double-crested Cormorant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) was focusing so intently on the water yesterdy that I thought it was stalking a fish. I was initially shocked at the size of the fish that it pulled out of the water until I realized that it was only a large leaf.

Double-crested Cormorant

The cormorant waved the leaf around proudly until it finally let go of the leaf. Obviously this bird has a policy of “catch and release.”

Double-crested Cormorant

Undeterred, the cormorant went back to fishing—I never did see him land one, but he might have been catching small fish during his dives.

Double-crested Cormorant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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