Bird #433 — Pelagic Cormorant

phalacrocorax (from phalakros, bald, and corus, raven) pelagicus (of the sea)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 — 9:40 am

Cannon Beach, Oregon — Pacific Ocean — Haystack Rock

This was a bird I expected to see on this trip. What I didn’t expect was to find it pretty. I see Double-crested Cormorants around Illinois all the time and don’t care much for them. But the Pelagic Cormorants were a glossy blue black with big patches of contrasting white on their flanks (present only during breeding season). They were slimmer and trimmer too, with a very thin neck, head and bill.

They were easy to find on pretty much any ledge that didn’t contain Common Murres, as you can see in the photos below. I often saw lone birds flying around the Haystack Rock area and other places up and down the coast.

I warned you that some of my photos weren’t very good. I had to blow these up considerably to show the birds, but you can get an idea of what they looked like.

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