I have new animals for you today! The two birds in my pictures are Double-crested Cormorants. I've been watching these birds for over a month. I've been unsuccessful at getting any good pictures of them until now. But I finally got as many pictures as I want now. Patience is a great thing.
The first time I saw one of these birds was one of the times I was checking on the nesting goose I was watching. It quickly swam away as soon as it saw me, so I only got a few bad photos that time. I encountered it a few more times, but I was never close enough or fast enough to get a good shot. This time was different.
These two are perched on a couple of branches sticking out of the water. Cormorants love to do this, and these branches seem to be favorites of these two. Park landscapers stupidly cut down their other perch which was even closer for pictures. These branches are good though because I was able to get pictures from four different locations.
I took these two top pictures are from the shore of the lake. I had to follow a hidden deer trail through the forest and down to the edge. The only real places for people to look at the lake are the two platforms. Neither of those places had as good of a view as this.
These birds stood out there like this through most of my walk through the park. Do you notice that the bird on the right has its wings spread? It stayed like this for a very long time. I wondered why for a few days. I found out that they have to do this.
Most water birds have oily feathers that keep them dry while swimming, but not cormorants. They have to perch with their wings spread for long periods to dry them out. They can dive down into the water for over a minute to catch fish. When they surface, they'll flip the fish in the air and catch them in their mouth to eat them.
As I said above, the first time I saw one of these birds it swam away. I blinked and then it was gone. It actually dived under the water. I stood there trying to figure out where it went, and then it resurfaced far down the lake from me. It was an amazing sight because I never even knew these birds existed.
I'll be trying to get more pictures of these birds in the future. Seeing them swimming is fun because they have the look of what you would expect from dinosaurs. These birds just look so different from the geese and ducks I've been showing you. The size is also kind of deceptive. Their size is about halfway between that of a goose and a duck.
I hope I see more of these birds. I've read that in the summer they head north, and summer is only a few weeks away. While I was in the meadow area of the nature park I saw one of the cormorants flying over the trees. When I went to look again they were gone. I hope they come back.