Sunday, March 31, 2013

What am I?

Nothing says Happy Easter like bad photos of a runty cormorant.

Rhoda and I had this bird a few days ago fly north past Tiscornia amongst a small group of Double-cresteds, my first of the year.  It was immediately apparent that the 2nd from the front bird was markedly smaller.
Unfortunately we were on the dune rather than a quarter mile closer at the end of the pier.

Now it's the lead bird.  There's no arguing that it's markedly smaller.

A Neotropic Cormorant would have a proportionately longer tail.

It certainly looks smaller headed (second in line).

Its bill seems to disappear a lot more than the bird in front of and behind it.

In a lot of the pics it seems like the body angles up more than the other birds on average, whether this important (or real) or not I'm not sure.

I also never spent a lot of time with it in the scope, as soon as I noticed it being small I started blasting away.  You can either study what you can't prove or prove what you can't study.  There's plenty opportunity to choose wrong (especially if there's no right answer).

In 2008 (the year there was a Neotrop at South Haven) I had a small cormorant fly by Tiscornia in the fall and I've been looking for them since then;  out of probably 1000 birds since this is the first small one I've encountered.  I've looked sporadically on line for other reports of these, I suppose I should go to a library with a BNA account and see what it says.  Per eBird most Neotropics aren't out of Texas at present though there's scattered birds at the longitude of Indianapolis in Nebraska and Colorado if I remember right.  I'd be a lot more hopeful if this was May or if I'd been that quarter of a mile closer.


Ken Burrell said...

Doesn't look small enough for a NECO in my opinion. Interesting, nonetheless.

VKop said...

I have to disagree with Ken. This bird looks the appropriate size for Neo. The other field marks look good, too. But as you elude to in the post, these are not going to be good enough to convince anyone beyond reasonable doubt that it is indeed a Neo.

Brandon Holden said...

March 31 on Lake Ontario -

Brandon Holden said...

March 31 on Lake Ontario -