Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus. Photographed with my Olympus E-3 and Zuiko 70-300mm. The birds were silhouetted in late afternoon light, high ISO 1000, some post-processing NR to compensate for the darker conditions..
I shot this series along the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. If you’ve watched Double-crested Cormorants [literally] coming home to roost, you know that the process of securing a branch of one’s own can be arduous.
These cormorant wings are designed for speedy flight, not harrier-style hovers. Their tree landings are further complicated by cormorants who’ve landed first and who prefer at least a wingspan’s worth of territory around their coveted perch.
The process goes like this if you’re a Double-crested Cormorant in Seattle:
- Catch the wind under the Aurora Bridge and sail into roosting territory
- Circle around to gain altitude for the approach
- Approach high with a branch or two in mind, in your favorite tree, preferably already occupied by a few friends
- Descend and just hope that your cormorant friends don’t boot you from your intended perch
- Land and flail until you stabilize yourself on the branch — or —
- Get rejected by an existing cormorant, pull up quick from your descent, recover, circle again to get some height, then try for another branch or another tree
Shot with my Olympus E-3 • Zuiko 70-300mm • ISO1000 • 1/1000