Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cormorants diving in LaFarge Lake





Increasingly, I find my peace, if I find any, walking around lakes. Now that I am aware of birds, it's amazing what that bird's-eye view can reveal. For example: there may have been cormorants in LaFarge Lake before, but we never saw them. Cormorants aren't fresh-water birds for the most part; they hang around the coast, probably because the fishing there is easy. But LaFarge is stocked with fish for sport, and right now those fish would probably be right-sized for the cormorant's diving.

Another thing they do - and this almost freaks people out, it looks so strange - is perch on a rock and stretch out their enormous wings and wave them gently, as if drying them. I hope to get a better video than the one below, taken at a great distance, but that one at least gives you an idea.

Their wings look batlike and a little frightening. There is something of the pelican about the cormorant, something of the heron and something of the seagull, and yet what they remind me of the most is the dodo bird.




Photographing these marvels is tricky, because without any warning at all they disappear into a straight-down dive, coming up somewhere quite else. They stay down an amazingly long time. Lately we've been treated to various different deep-lake divers, most notably the hooded merganser (and were THEY there all along, for years and years, and we never saw them?). In full hoodedness, the male's heads look like small china dinner plates, very white and flat.




I know this is only the beginning of my birded-ness, and I find myself literally running after them with my camera like some demented old-lady birder crashing through the underbrush. Even the back yard is exciting. It's different every day, and we've had some spectacular moments - a couple of months ago I was swarmed with blackbirds wanting to eat out of my hand, and a year or so ago when everything was iced over, all the birds congregated on the open water on Burnaby Lake. I've never seen so many different kinds of birds in one place, at one time.




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