Birding Sanibel Island and the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Cormorants are always fun to watch. I like to follow them when they are diving for fish, but watching their take-offs is sometimes even more entertaining. They don't pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter pat across the water in a running motion before eventually hauling their stout and dripping wet bodies out of the water and into the air--they hop, hop, HOP!
A Double-crested Cormorant swims the waters of the Ding Darling NWR.
His sparkling turquoise-colored eyes and orangish face mask command attention...
SPLASH! Cormorants use both feet at the same time to push off the water when they are taking off, basically hopping their way in huge leaps across the water. If you follow the splashes you can see this fellow's progress...a big splash, then undisturbed water, then another big splash, etc. (One of my favorite bird reference books is the National Geographic Reference Atlas to the Birds of North America by Mel Baughman. I like this book because is discusses bird behavior and general information instead of bird ID. You can read more about the cormorant's take-off method in this book.)
...these photos were taken on March 22, 2011 at the Ding Darling NWR on Sanibel Island, Florida. It was so beautiful...warm, sunny, and blue!