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
The Approach – ©ingridtaylar
The Descent – ©ingridtaylar
Pulling Up From the Dive – ©ingridtaylar
The Recovery – ©ingridtaylar
Circling – ©ingridtaylar
Perched Neighbor – ©ingridtaylar
The Landing – ©ingridtaylar
Stabilizing – ©ingridtaylar
Settling In – ©ingridtaylar
Territoriality – ©ingridtaylar
Shot with my Olympus E-3 • Zuiko 70-300mm • ISO1000 • 1/1000