Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cormorants on the Move

This afternoon I walked through my local park to see if any new birds had arrived in the past few days. Robins are still massing in the park, such that their songs and chuckles were echoing from all directions. The other birds present in large numbers were black birds. Many of the grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds that dominated the flocks several weeks ago seem to have moved on, and the larger flocks are now mostly European Starlings and Brown-headed Cowbirds. Well over 300 starlings were present this afternoon. Canada Geese and all gull species were well below their winter numbers.

As I walked along the river, eight Double-crested Cormorants flew downstream and landed in the river. These were among a dozen or so present, in addition to the usual single Great Cormorant, which has been sitting on the channel marker since late December. Lately this bird has been decked out in breeding plumage. These were the first Double-crested Cormorants I have seen on the river for several months, possibly since last year. I expect that fairly soon the Great Cormorant will move to a more suitable location for nesting.