This scene reminded me of a museum diorama, almost made up with the variety of occupants.
This log at the edge of one of Magnolia Plantation’s ponds is often occupied by a drying Anhinga, but on this day a Double-crested Cormorant had possession.
I have rarely seen one this close, and he seemed to only be paying attention to the warm sun.
About an hour later when I passed back by, sunlight was no longer shining on the pond or the bird, and the Cormorant was in the same spot.
And he was just as uninterested in passers by.
This was the scene under the Spoonbill Tree at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area on a recent cold and windy morning. The Roseate Spoonbills were wisely at the back of the pond, tucked under a bigger tree.
A few Gallinules were popping in and out view and the Great Blue Heron seemed on the verge of doing something as he repositioned several times.
The GBH moved back into the water when a Great Egret appeared. This dead tree, which has been a great perch for a Roseate Spoonbills over the last few years, has taken another step towards its end as another good size limb has fallen off this winter.
I was expecting the Heron to drive off the other birds the way he came back around the front of the island all puffed up.
But he decided to ignore whatever was going on behind him at least for the moment, as one lone gull paddled by.
February 4, 2021
This scene of a cattail, some pond-side greens, and a Double-crested Cormorant made me think of a bouquet.
I edged along the path to get a better angle and the Cormorant decided to relocate.
He wasn’t in any particular hurry, with a gentle splash he dropped into the water.
Then he headed toward the middle of the pond.
Lots of folks confuse these two water birds, it was interesting to see them side-by-side, watching one of each compete for the same space.
The immediate way to tell them apart is the Anhinga has a straight bill and the Cormorant’s is hooked.
The Anhinga won the first round of “King of the Hill.”
A few minutes later one of the Cormorants returned, showing off his feet as he looked to get closer to the stump.
An Ibis was on the scene, but had no interest in the competition.
Another view showing off the beak comparison.
We call it the Spoonie Tree because the Roseate Spoonbills often perch there, but it really is first come, first served and this year I’ve seen more Double-crested Cormorants than Spoonbills.
The Cormorants were just enjoying the sun and grooming, but the Spoonbills had a need to agitate.
Getting an image with all heads up didn’t work out that day.
The Snowy Egrets came and went, mostly ignored by the others.
January 16, 2020
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, SC
A Double-crested Cormorant was standing on a post, flapping his wings, which of course got my attention.
He dropped down as if he was going to spend some time in the water but then went into take off mode.
His splashes reminded me of a skipping stone.
Finally airborne, he disappeared down the canal.
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
March 9. 2020
One of the neatest things I observed on my recent trip to Florida was Cormorants feeding.
This pond had a deeper channel near the edge and I had an obstructed view into the water, which was quite clear. I was amazed at how fast they can swim.
And pop back up.
I watched two birds make several passes in front of me. Once there was a prize, complete with some vegetation.
I am partial to images with reflections. A small floating leaf gives away the water as this Double-crested Cormorant glides by.
Seeing a Double-crested Cormorant floating in a pond I expected to witness him fishing. I was ready for him to dive then pop up many feet away.
He had other ideas.
He did a couple of trial flaps.
Then he took to the air leaving a splish splash behind him.