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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A cormorant dries its wings

Cormorants are a common sight along Astoria's waterfront. They're easily recognizable by their long necks and their angled stance, but one of the coolest things is to see them drying their wings. Unlike some waterbirds, a cormorant's wings are not waterproof. It's said that they turn their bodies so the full sun catches their wings, but this isn't always true. This bird wasn't facing the sun, but it seemed to enjoy the fact that the sun was actually out the other day when I took the photo. Its wings dried quickly and the cormorant went back to its normal position with wings folded and eyes scanning the water for fish. Once they see a potential meal, the are very fast and strong divers, and very powerful swimmers. Some cormorant species can dive to 40 feet. It's a rare day when you wouldn't see cormorants along the river walk. According to Wikipedia, the name "cormorant" is derived from Latin corvus marinus, "sea raven." Our local birds are double-crested cormorants, and they develop small tufts or crests on their heads at breeding season. Cormorants have amazing green eyes, which I hadn't noticed until I photographed this one. I would describe the color as a bright pale green, which you may be able to see if you click on the photo. Here's another picture of the cormorant. A high-quality long lens would have been helpful, but you can get some idea of the color. It's so unusual! The pilings, too, are still bright green from our wet winter.

Check out more animal photos on Camera Critters.

10 comments:

Lee Spangler said...

The cormorant looks like a graceful dancer who has just finished a performance and is about to turn to the audience to take a bow. Your description was informative. Do you know where I can buy a plastic replica?

Joy said...

Neat photo!

cieldequimper said...

Perfect shot amidst all the green seaweed.

Jacob said...

Nice shot. We have lots of these things in Florida too. I used to watch them in the canal behind our condo...I was amazed at how fast they could swim under water...they head down one place and come up a few seconds later at the end of the canal!

Luna ( from Brazil ) said...

What a fantastic capture! ConCATulations, great post!
purrs
Luna

James said...

That is a really great photo and interesting info.

Small City Scenes said...

I like Cormorants and they are an interesting bird to photograph. there are a lot up this way too. I suppose anywhere there is plenty of water Cormorants will abound. MB

Amanda Guthrie said...

Lovely contrast, the black against the green and the wings wide open? Marvelous!

Karen said...

Those two photos are really good !!

Very informative post as well.

I love the reflections of the green piles in the water, as well..

Anonymous said...

ever try to shoot one of those things? Regular duck loads just bounce off of them and they dont miss a wingbeat-damn near indestructable

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