I headed over to Logan's Landing and Medalie Park because my Audubon alerts had reported some unique waterfowl there. Because of the mild winter, the south end of Boardman Lake hadn't frozen over, so the place was teeming with a large variety of ducks, geese, and swans.
The area has lots of fallen logs and posts sticking out of the water, providing perches for the waterfowl, such as this female mallard.
I also saw graceful Mute Swans preening and dunking for aquatic plants. I chuckle at their name because these aggressive swans will hiss and snort at anything encroaching on their territory.
I chuckled as this swan half flew and half paddled across the lake, kicking up a maelstrom of water along the way. I caught a goose in flight, trying to stay out of the swan's way.
Next, I saw this pair of female Hooded Mergansers bobbing in the lake. Truth be told, all these waterfowl were beautiful critters, but rather commonplace. No, I was looking for something unusual. My Audubon emails had given many reports of a Double-crested Cormorant in the area. I had visited several times over the week and had come up with nothing.
What it took for me to finally catch this unusual bird was to get out of bed early so I could match the cormorant's feeding times. I'd been coming in the afternoon and early evening. No wonder I didn't see it!
The hooked bill and orange throat pouch make this seabird unmistakable to identify. Our mild winter has allowed the cormorant to stay further into the winter than is typical.
The cormorant looked at me, and it had a rather sweet face. "Oh, you humans," it probably thought, "always trying to make us into something we're not."
The seabird opened its bill and looked upward, giving me a good look at that hooked bill. I'm sure it aids in capturing prey as it swims underwater to feed on fish, crustaceans, and amphibians.
It was nearing time for me to move on when the cormorant gave me one last piece of its show, displaying its enormous wingspan.
As the cormorant continued to stretch to an even fuller wingspan, I felt fortunate to have photographed something different two weeks in a row. Maybe I oughta get up to see the sunrise more often.