a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Saturday, July 30, 2011


They are coastal rather than oceanic birds, and some have colonised inland waters - indeed, the original ancestor of cormorants seems to have been a fresh-water bird, judging from the habitat of the most ancient lineage. They range around the world, except for the central Pacific islands.

A couple of kayakers, a gull, and a large number of Cormorants

All are fish-eaters, dining on small eels, fish, and even water snakes. They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet. Some cormorant species have been found, using depth gauges, to dive to depths of as much as 45 metres.

I see at least 3 on the cliffs

After fishing, cormorants go ashore, and are frequently seen holding their wings out in the sun. All cormorants have preen gland secretions that are used ostensibly to keep the feathers waterproof. Some sources state that cormorants have waterproof feathers while others say that they have water permeable feathers. Still others suggests that the outer plumage absorbs water but does not permit it to penetrate the layer of air next to the skin. The wing drying action is seen even in the flightless cormorant but commonly in the Antarctic shags and red-legged cormorants. Alternate functions suggested for the spread-wing posture include that it aids thermoregulation, digestion, balances the bird or indicates presence of fish. A detailed study of the Great Cormorant concludes that it is without doubt to dry the plumage.

Drying his plumage

Cormorants are colonial nesters, using trees, rocky islets, or cliffs. The eggs are a chalky-blue colour. There is usually one brood a year. The young are fed through regurgitation. They typically have deep, ungainly bills, showing a greater resemblance to those of the pelicans', to which they are related, than is obvious in the adults.

A large rock inhabited by 100's of Cormorants

The above U-tube movie is of Chinamen fishing with Cormorants.  I ran into some folks at the beach that asked me about the birds.  They were amazed at watching them fish.  I told them the story of Cormorants fishing for Asian people.  They put some sort of ring or snare around the birds throat and tie a string to it.  The Cormorant dives deeply coming up with a fish.  He can't swallow the fish because of the ring in his throat.  That's one fish for the fisherman and so forth.

A rock covered in seals

So, if you are ever at Pismo Beach stop by the bluffs which are a bit north of the State beach.  You won't be disappointed.  Very few people were there.  Bring a picnic lunch.  :0)


Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

Wow! What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing!

gvmama said...

Debbie, thanks for stopping by. We both have grandsons named Dustin :0) Mine's a wee bit older.

Donna Brinkworth said...

I have been reading your blog for the past few days and love what you've been writing. I love the west coast - just discovered it last year, always having been an easterner until moving to Alberta. Your pics are great and your description is so engaging! Also, don't feel bad about the 8 hour trip and 2 minutes on the field. We've all had those days. I drove to British Columbia two years ago for a tracking test and failed at the start - it's never happened to me. What a disappointment. But I did the same thing - I left early and enjoyed the drive home through the mountains taking photos. It lifts the spirit and reminds you that its about the journey! Thanks for the great posts. Donna

gvmama said...

Thanks for the sweet comments Donna. I'm watching baby Ben grow up. What fun you will have with him!