Monday, May 12, 2008

Neotropic cormorant, check

I finally made it up to Grand Haven to see the first state record neotropic cormorant, not a bird that I ever really expected to see in Michigan. I scanned back and forth across the lake (being at the end of the pier meant there was probably close to 240 degrees to check) and it was slow going with plenty of waves deep enough to hide any birds present most of the time. Suddenly I picked the bird up just off the end of the pier with binoculars, the closest bird visible! The white chinstrap was somewhat narrower than I expected after viewing pics of the bird on the internet taken in bright sun. The bird was obviously smaller than the other birds with a somewhat odd appearing bill (in comparison to the double-crested's) which seemed short and without that much of a hooked tip. It had a wisp or two of cheek plumes. The orange of the throat was much duller and somewhat paler than the double-crested's as well. It dove constantly, seeming to stay up for no more than 2 or 3 seconds before diving again; I quickly gave up on getting digi-scoped images (and eventually lost the bird in the waves in any case). I stopped on the way back to try to capture a couple horned grebes that were quite close to the pier but they didn't want to settle down for much of a shot either.

Once I got home I found an absolute horde of warblers passing through the backyard, loads of yellow-rumped, with a few black-throated blues and greens, a Nashville, a parula, a chestnut-sided, and a palm. There were so many birds that you could spot birds that would almost pose for a photo...

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