Cormorants a’cruising

Scores of Cormorants cruised the agitated waters of the North Basin this morning.  These local birds are fairly easy to identify:  black body with bright green eyes, yellow bill with a downward hook at the tip.  This group, according to Audubon’s Rusty Scalf, includes both Double-Crested and Pelagic Cormorants.  The former are abundant, the latter much less so.  Like the Western Grebe, Cormorants are great divers and underwater swimmers.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a tank where you can see these birds under water.  Cormorants are native here and don’t migrate, but the Pelagic variety may range all over the Northern Pacific.  They’re also strong swimmers; look at the bow wave of the lone bird below, working to catch up with the rest of the flock.

Black body, green eye, yellow bill with a downward hook at the tip:  Cormorant
Black body, green eye, yellow bill with a downward hook at the tip: Cormorant
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The Cormorant is a strong swimmer. Look at the bow wave this one is generating!
Cormorants in the North Basin (plus a gull)
Cormorants in the North Basin (plus a gull, there’s always a gull)

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