Thursday, December 19, 2013

pelagic cormorant ~ 12/19/13 ~ Monterey Bay Aquarium


I love how the pelagic cormorants don seasonal attire appropriate for Christmas.  They have such a cute red face this time of year.  The sun has to hit them just right for the greens and purples to appear in the feathers, otherwise they look kind of drab.  A couple weeks ago, I noticed several already had their white butt patches (properly called flank patches), but not all of them yet.  I'll have to try to get photos of that, even if they are crappy like the first one above.  I gotta tell you, I so appreciate good nature photography now that I know how difficult it is.  I've really enjoyed watching the pelagic cormorants hang out at the Monterey Bay Aquarium all year.  They build their nests on those ledges under the building.  Their presence at the Aquarium is a relatively new occurrence, maybe within the past 10-12 years?  I believe the MBA is one of only a few places you can easily observe breeding and nesting up close, because they typically nest on inaccessible rocky cliffs.  Back in August, I suggested to Jim Covel that they add a cormorant nest cam to their relatively new Web Cams.  We'll see...

ps 12/23/13 - Today I saw my first pelagic cormorant carrying kelp nesting material back to the MBA ledges.  They really don't seriously nest until about March.  Maybe they're practicing?

pss 12/30/13 - Today I saw 2 cormorants actually sitting on what look like nests.  Crazy early?

5 comments:

Imperfect and Tense said...

Their plumage is spectacular in the sun.

We have P. carbo (Cormorant) and P. aristotelis (Shag) in the UK, which seem to share some features with P. pelagicus. Steep forehead and plumage colours (P.aristotelis) and white flank patch (P. carbo).

Jeannette said...

I like the shadow of the cormorant too. Nature photography is hard...but the being there is the essential. So I wish you many opportunities for taking less than perfectly professional pictures...and a very bright and merry Christmas.

John W. Wall said...

I was amazed to see pelagic cormorants flying onto their nests on a steep rock face with the ocean below, the eggs just inches away from the edge.

Keith E said...

are they ever sighted on rocks around the harbor/aquarium?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Who are you, Keith?! And why the flood of questions?