Friday, September 12, 2008

Birding Makes a Return at the Bass Ponds

If you are a fairly new visitor to Ecobirder you might be a bit confused. After all with a name like Ecobirder you are probably expecting to see pictures of birds, instead of all of the insects that I have been posting lately. That is why we, Michelle helped to chose the name, called it Ecobirder because the eco part represents all of the non-birding nature pics that I post. However, how about if I post some bird pics that I shot at the Bass Ponds in July so you bird purists out there do not totally walk out on me.
While I was traveling around the ponds, checking the trees for passerines and the tall grass for butterflies and dragons, a double-crested cormorant made a big splash on the scene.
The double-crested cormorant is the most widely seen cormorant in North America. Where most cormorants are only found near the coast the double-crested cormorant are found in large numbers on inland lakes and water ways. The double-crested cormorant was listed as a species of special concern by the Audubon Society back in the 70's but since then there numbers have exploded. This increase in population has caused conflict with fisheries, who claim that the cormorants eat their fish as well as some park management, fecal matter from nests has a tendency to kill trees.
The sudden arrival of the cormorant startled a great egret who was fishing on the pond, either that or the guy with the big camera eye staring at it.
The great egret is a member of the heron family and is found across much of the world. The great egret, like many members of the heron family, was decimated by plume hunters in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They rebounded after federal laws were put in place to protect them. Today the great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.
All of the racket over at the pond, what with that prima donna symbol of the Audubon Society and the paparazzi photographing it, caught the attention of a cedar waxwing that was trying to take a snooze.
The cedar waxwing gets its name from the red, waxy appearing, tips on some of the secondaries. The tips are clearly visible in both photos above. The purpose of the red tips is not known for sure however some believe that they may come into play during mate selection. Cedar waxwings are berry eaters and can get intoxicated from eating fermented berries.


Leedra said...

Great! I have never seen Cedar Waxwings, did not know about the yellow tip on their tail. It just jumps out in these photographs. I thought the Cormanant would be my pick, but not sure.

Lynne said...

Birds!! Hurray!!

troutbirder said...

The cedar wax wing is stunning. I saw quite a few in August at the Goethite WMA but I never get close enough.