Posts Tagged ‘cormorants’

Once upon a time I hunkered down by one of the lakes at the Preserve to relax and keep an eye (and lens) on one of my favorite birds–the cormorant. I’ve previously called the the U-boats of the bird world. They’re silent, deadly, and can hunt underwater for long periods of time, coming up a completely different place than where they dove. As usual they were fishing and my camera was clicking, although the first round wasn’t quite in focus. But the second round…

…gone fishing and…strike! Oh, yeah, I love Fish Fridays!

I’d be happy to help if you need it. 🙂

Going down. No, I don’t chew my food! What of it?

Hmmmm. Didn’t go down. Let’s try repositioning.

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Not far from us is the Lake Renwick Preserve, home to cormorants, egrets, herons, pelicans and more. During the breeding season, March 1 through mid-August, the preserve is only open for public programs and guided bird viewing so as not to interrupt or bother the birds. On a nice day, it’s a lovely walk. This day was several summers ago, but worth a revisit!

Tree swallow seems like a rather colorless name for this bright beauty.

© janet m. webb

The main nesting area looks more than a bit like something from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

© janet m. webb
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for Six Word Saturday

© janet m. webb

There’s a dead tree by the river in the park where I walk.  It’s often inhabited by birds of one sort of another: a siege/sedge of herons, an exaltation of egrets, or a gulp of cormorants…fish hunters all.  One unusual time, there were two types of birds there simultaneously.

I check each time I walk, hoping to catch a glimpse of as many as six or seven perched on various branches.  I think they muse about fish: those they’ve caught, those they plan to catch.  I muse about getting close enough to get a decent photo.  Even with my telephoto, it’s a bit too far away for a really good shot.

But there’s a path winding its way not far from the base of the tree and when the ground is wet or there are no crunchy leaves, it’s possible to get close enough if I move very, very slowly, to see them high above me in the tree.  This time I finally had my Nikon, not just my phone, and was thus able to immortalize this musing cormorant.

These birds are in some ways my muses.  I think about them, wonder whether they’ll be there, if I’ll get a photo of them.  And I enjoy seeing them muse about whatever it is they think about while sitting on a dead tree overlooking the river.

On a personal note, I’ll be taking a blogging break for most of the rest of the month as I travel to France to visit my s-i-l and b-i-l.   I pray for each of you a wonderful time and many blessings while I’m gone and promise to share thoughts, adventures, and photos with you when I return.

for One Word Sunday  (This week one word and then some!)

Gone fishin’

Posted: July 18, 2015 in Nature
Tags: , ,

One sight that can temporarily stop my walk is that of a fishing bird patiently waiting for its next meal. I hit “Pause” on the app that keeps track of my walk and simply enjoy. Herons and egrets are common near us. I often spot them waiting, unmoving, until suddenly their heads and long beaks dart down and another fish dinner is consumed. But I’m just as intrigued by cormorants, even though they aren’t elegant in the same tall, thin way these other fishing birds are.

If for not having to flap their wings (quite fast, as they’re somewhat stubby), a cormorant, at least the ones who live here, would look like an avian version of the stealth fighters that sometimes overfly a sporting event. Slim and black, they move quickly through the air and I’ve never heard one make a noise. But it’s in the water that they really shine.

Here the image is, to me, one of the feared German U-boats: they run silent and they can run deep. One moment a cormorant is floating on the water; then next, it’s gone, diving after its victim. Watch and wait. Nothing happens. Keep watching. Still nothing. A movement catches your eye and there, quite a distance from where it began its dinner run, is the bird, floating deceptively peacefully…until its next dive commences and another fish becomes a bit of bird sushi.

The most amazing thing is how long these birds can stay underwater. I’ve repeatedly counted, routinely reaching as long as half a minute before the slender head emerges, dripping water. They can do this repeatedly. One day on the lake near our house, three cormorants dove and popped up time after time, in all directions, a not-quite-synchronized swimming/diving/eating team.

The end of the first half of my morning walk in the park takes me down to the river. I keep my eyes open for birds but on Tuesday, a cormorant and I mutually surprised each other. I’d almost reached the river when the bird, fish partly in mouth, saw me, frantically skimming the water before finally taking off. My first thought was regret that I hadn’t had my phone out, camera ready, although it’s doubtful I would have been able to catch the shot anyway. The second was pure enjoyment at catching a unique moment in the lovely morning light. I continued on my way with a smile on my face and a sense of joy at the beauty of nature.