Some leftovers

Just a few images from the last outing to Jordan Lake – the post regarding that was overrun with sequences from the eagles, so we’ll just squeeze in a couple here.

trio of airborne double-crested cormorants Nannopterum auritum stacked together
While it’s easy enough to find double-crested cormorants (Nannopterum auritum) flying individually, they tend towards flocking in gooselike V-formations, but never seem to climb too high. So it’s easy to photograph them stacked together in total disregard of personal space, looking like an acrobatic stunt in the process of failing. Granted, it’s only the compression of a telephoto lens and they’re comfortably far enough apart, but I don’t need to tell you that…

The species is quite active at the lake at this time of year, and flights of them were passing overhead frequently. In that particular spot, there is a narrow land bridge between a small pond and the lake proper, which provides a decent view of the small ‘bay’ of the main lake that the eagles like, but for reasons unknown, the cormorants greatly prefer crossing this right there as their highway when traveling west, and they can pass directly overhead. It’s a gap in the taller pines nearby, certainly, but they also have to clear the road causeway just a little beyond, while a few hundred meters to the north, there’s a much larger opening with the same conditions. It could simply be that some particular ‘lead’ cormorant chose this spot one time, and it’s become a habit for everyone that was following ever since, but I’ve been seeing it for years now.

Another pair that used the highway:

pair of double-crested cormorants Nannopterum auritum cruising overhead
This is at 600mm and cropped significantly, but I’d estimate their distance at roughly 50 meters. It was getting towards sunset and they were largely facing in that direction, so the light worked, and while autofocus didn’t quite nail it tightly, it did pretty well for subjects not centered under the AF spot and rapidly approaching, as we see when we crop even further:

pair of double-crested cormorants Nannopterum auritum passing overhead, tightly cropped
Yeah, could be better, yet not only seeing the green eyes but the evidence of pupils and catchlights as they passed is halfway-decent, at least. Believe me, I’ve had enough images that never even got close in such circumstances.

And one more expressive one of the eagles:

pair of bald eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus conversing on dead tree
The lower one, with the wings still spread, had just landed, and they were calling together as they do, though for what purpose I cannot say. This is the same pair that we’ve been following, obviously not antagonistic nor territorial towards one another, so the best I can say is that they’re confirming their identities to one another – don’t be too confident in that appraisal. But it made for a nice pose anyway.

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