Drying Cormorant

Surprising a Drying Darter

On this day, I was walking, deep in thought, when a harsh call snapped me back to reality.  I had come face to face with a bird that I thought was a cormorant.  I’m not sure which of us was most surprised. I’m so glad I had my camera with me, so I could photograph the twisting, turning neck as the bird warned me to keep my distance.  I did.  After taking these seven photos I turned around and walked in the opposite direction, leaving it to dry itself.

In the first version of this post, I actually named the bird as Pied Cormorant.  As you can see from the comments below, John alerted me to the fact that it was actually an Australasian Darter.

One of the telling features is the pointed beak – cormorants have a slight downward hook at the end of their beak.  The neck and the tail of a Darter is also longer than a Cormorant.  I should have noticed that this bird had different markings than a Pied Cormorant, but it was one of those times I saw what I expected to see, and not what was actually there… it is a lesson in always checking the field guide.  Thank you John.

The photos are still fantastic though. To get the full effect of the posturing, click on the first photo, and scroll through all seven photos in full screen.  I don’t think a blow-by-blow description is necessary, so have minimally captioned them.

9 thoughts on “Surprising a Drying Darter

  1. You have photographed a male Australasian Darter. They occupy a similar niche to cormorants being fish feeders. They are seen around Ballarat – occasionally at Lake Wendouree and more often at Lake Burrumbeet.

  2. You have photographed a male Australasian Darter. They are uncommon around Ballarat, being seen occassionally at Lake Wendouree and more often at Lake Burrumbeet.

    1. Oops. I am so used to seeing the cormorants (which we do have here) that I failed to look at the bird closely enough. Thank you for pointing this out to me John. It’s a lesson that I should always check the field guide and never make assumptions. I’ll correct the title, and add it to the species list. Thank you for being vigilant. I really appreciate it.

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