Friday, April 11, 2008

Shy Cormorants

I stopped by the Superior Drive pond between picking up kids from school this afternoon, and saw the flock of cormorants that Brendon had reported seeing there recently. I like the way their heads stick up out of the water! They sit very low in the water, and their bodies easily disappear from view while their long necks remain very visible. They are easily spooked, however, and as soon as I approached they took flight. I was rather impressed that the photo below caught their "footsteps" on the water as they took off -- something I couldn't see with the naked eye and wasn't aware I was capturing with the camera. (Click on the photos for greater detail.)

Posted by Picasa


Bleeet said...

I hope you were able to catch them swallowing the fish. Also, when it was very windy on Thursday, the loon was "laying down" on the water, making its body float even deeper and stretching its neck and head forward so it rested on the surface.

I think this may have been to lower its profile in the wind, but I'm not sure. I've never seen a loon do that before, but having such unobstructed views on the pond make it ideal for observing all of its usually secretive behaviors.

For instance, I've noticed what I think are two different types of dives. In the "fishing dive", the loon slowly rotates its head down and tail up and slips quietly under the surface. This dive seems more surreptitious... sneaky even. A hunting maneuver.

In the "escape dive", the loon seems to drop beneath the surface like a stone to evade a perceived threat. I can't tell if it is doing the "fishing dive" so fast that I can't see the rotation, or if it actually drops straight down. It definitely happens faster.

Bleeet said...

I suppose I could read about loons on the internet, and answer my questions and resolve all my guesses about their behavior, but sometimes watching and thinking and speculating are enjoyable in their own way.