Sunday, May 22, 2016

More Rare Neotropic Cormorants Are on the Homefront

                                                          Adult Female Orchard Oriole

                                                               Neotropic Cormorant
                                                                  Breeding Plumage

                                                           Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant

                                                         Juvenile Neotropic Cormorants

                                                                    Canada Goose
                                                                 "King of the Hill"

                                                                 Willow Flycatcher

80-86 degrees F/1500-1820 hrs./partly cloudy/15 mph SE wind gusts

A couple of us had been wondering about some of the cormorants that we'd been observing,
and both came to the same conclusion, but didn't dare to speak up that these were all Neotropic
Cormorants.  I last photographed them together six days prior, but hadn't had the opportunity to
look at the photographs.

They were all observed again, yesterday, and I got better shots than on that cloudy day, and am
confident enough to say that they all ARE Neotropic Cormorants.  The breeding adult is easy to
identify, but the juveniles are a little tougher.  However, the clincher is the bill and surrounding area.
The juvenile nootropics also possess dark lores, whereas the more common Double-crested Cormorant has orange lores.  All juveniles described are first year birds.  Juvenile nootropics also have a dark breast, and the Double-crested variety has a light breast.  Unless one looks quite hard for this, they will be missed, so from now on, look closely at your cormorants, or you could miss a real
find like these.

The Orchard Orioles have moved in, including the young birds from last year.  There is one that
has been calling in a tree that belongs to some Eastern Kingbirds, who don't chase the oriole away.
They will remove other birds expediently, like the Northern Mockingbird, who is not a neotropical

Another welcome guest that will be staying a while is the Willow Flycatcher, the above photo.  We
also host the Least, Alder, Great-crested, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers at Boomer Lake.

There are still plenty of young Canada Geese with more on the way.  Both parents have been off the nests on warm days, so it is easy to observe the large, white eggs while they procure food for themselves.