Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brandt's Cormorants

As mentioned in my previous post Red and I drove to Monterey yesterday to spend a few hours near Fisherman's Wharf to look for Brandt's Cormorants. The photo below is the jetty where the Coast Guard station is located. It was less than 1/2 mile from the parking lot. And this is what greeted us when we arrived. Brandt's Cormorants as far as the eye could see - so to speak. As you can see this jetty is full of these birds and their offspring. If you click on the photo you will also see sea lions along the edge. Most of the sea lions were heard but not seen. It sounded like they were all under the wooden pier off to the right and behind us. This photo also shows how the marine layer was keeping the sun from coming through.
This little chick is waiting for food from mama.
And here is mama to the rescue.
This photo is a close-up of a couple of nests with the little ones still in the nest. These babes must be younger; they seem to have more white spots and haven't left the nest yet.
Mama loving her offspring.
Here's another shot of some of mama's love. Be sure to click on the photos to see a larger view. One of these photos, and I think it's this one below, you can see the blue throat on the adult. The blue on the adults' throats is fading now since breeding season is over.


Anonymous said...

Great photos. Monterey is moving up my list of places to visit quite rapidly!

Anonymous said...

I'll have to look for the Brandt's Cormorants the next time I visit the west coast. It looks like it would be really interesting to watch them interact with each other. Very nice photos.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

It's funny, I was so focussed on the birds, I didn't notice the sea lions until you mentioned them!

I think your photos are quite touching- they show clearly (to me) the love between a mother and her baby, even in the animal world.

Very nice Mary!

Mary C said...

Thanks, Wren. It sounds like I'm enticing you to make a trip to the West Coast! I have more photos I'll post in the next day or two, so stay tuned.

Hi Linda. Next time you visit I hope it will be around May through July. That's when you will see these birds in their breeding plumage, or even while they are nesting. It's so cool. I couldn't see their blue throats as easily as Red did in May, but I was able to detect a little bit of blue. But seeing the babies easily made up for missing the blue throats. BTW, if you should visit this area let me know and we can possibly visit the area together.

Lynne, it was funny while Red and I were there. Here are all these birds and their offspring (as far as the eye could see) and most everyone else who was there at the jetty were marveling at the sea lions! Hmm, I wonder if it had something to do with all the noise they were making!

Kathie Brown said...

I have seen Double-crested cormorants all over the U.s. and neotropic cormorants here in AZ at Patagonia Lake, but I have yet to see a Brandt's. Thanks for showing these to me. Now I know where to find one! (or 2, or 3, or 4....)

Mary C said...

Kathie, I'll trade you a Brandt's for a neotropic! Another one I'd love to see someday is the pelagic cormorant. They are usually found farther out on the Pacific Ocean.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
I checked my field guide on these cormorants and found it interesting that they only exist on the very west coast of US, Canada & Mexico. The book also says "Populations vary annually, perhaps in response to sea surface temperatur." Do you know if their numbers are declining due global warming? How does this flock in Monterey compare with previous years? (just curious)

Mary C said...

Ruthie - Great questions. I wish I could let you know about the numbers, but this is the first time I've seen these birds. But I'll check around and see what some other experts have to say. My personal opinion is that the numbers of these birds are not declining.

Birdfreak.com said...

These are great shots. How cool to watch these guys! Love the chicks!

Mary C said...

Thanks so much, Birdfreak. They definitely were fun to watch, especially when the chicks kept cuddling up to their mamas.


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