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May 2012


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Betsy Beneke <[log in to unmask]>
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Betsy Beneke <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 May 2012 06:04:42 -0600
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Dave, Lars & All:
I think it's likely I saw the same cormorant about a week ago.  Several birds were sitting in the dead trees in Nelson Pool - this is a favorite hangout for cormorants at Sherburne.  That bird caught my eye immediately because it looked a lot smaller in size than the one it was sitting right next to.  I got the spotting scope out and studied the bird for about 10 minutes.  Although its body looked smaller (they both had their backs to me), when it turned its head, the size of the beak looked to be the same as the other bird, eye and gular area appeared to be the same color.  I didn't get the impression that the tail was any longer than the bird sitting next to it.  It just seemed narrower to me.
The other thing that immediately caught my eye was that its tail feathers were two colors.  The middle ones were black, but the outside ones were brown.  I didn't have a field guide with me, and had no idea if this was significant or not.    After getting back to the office, I couldn't find any reference to plumage variations, and with the beak size and face looking the same to me, I decided it was probably just a small bird.  It was morning, and light conditions were good for viewing looking west.
But now you've got me wondering if I should have stayed longer and studied the bird more!  I now have a couple of field guides in my car again too.

 From: David Benson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:49 PM
Subject: [mou-net] Possible Neotropic Cormorant at Sherburne
Lars Benson just called (8:45 pm) to say that near the pool that is closest
to Stickney Pond on the Wildlife Drive at Sherburne National Wildlife
Refuge, he saw a small cormorant together with some Double-crested
Cormorants. The bird was noticeably smaller and longer-tailed.
Unfortunately, as the light faded and he had to move farther away to try to
see the face, he wasn't able to distinguish any facial markings that would
have been diagnostic. So, maybe not, but something for those of you who
frequent Sherburne to keep an eye out for.

Dave Benson

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