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Neotropic Cormorant, etc.

Dave Compton
 

Continuing the theme of possibly resurfacing rarities gone AWOL, I found a pretty adult looking Neotropic Cormorant at Devereux Slough in Goleta around midday, today. The bird was perched alongside a Double-crested toward the southern end of the slough, best seen either from the southern or the middle pullout.

I am not certain this is the bird that was present in Goleta in the latter part of the spring, and last seen in late May. Recall Hugh Ranson found an immature Neotropic Cormorant here in March. That bird went AWOL, for a short time at least, then a darker bird showed up at Lake Los Carneros. There was some discussion on whether that was the same bird as the bird Hugh found at Devereux, and I think most of us thought it was, and that it was molting into a more adult-like plumage. However, seeing this bird today, I wonder if it could be the same as the bird last seen in late May, but I have questions whether it could look as adult as it does now if it were the same bird that was at Devereux in March. So, it's possible that at least two birds could be involved. But I think someone is going to have to have a close look at a range of photos to figure this out. Unfortunately, as many of you probably know, my photographic equipment isn't the best, so my photos may not be up to the task. Hopefully, someone can get better shots than I did. But I'll post the best of my poor photos to eBird, for anyone who wants to see them.

Also at Devereux, both Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets continue nesting. At least two Great Egret nests are still active. Two branching birds are probably associated with a third nest. One Great Blue Heron nest is still active, with a still smallish nesting. We had a very early Great Blue nest at this location this year, with an audibly begging nestling in March. Last year, we had nestlings into August, which was late. Despite it's long breeding cycle, this species will often renest after an initial failure. They're even known to renest after fledging their first brood. Unfortunately, I can't recall whether today's nest is the one with the begging nesting in March. This might also require looking at some photos.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara


Dave Compton
 

Following up on this, after further investigation, it seems to me that the Neotropic Cormorant at Devereux today, the bird that was at Lake Los Carneros in April and early May before ending up at Devereux in late May, and the bird first found at Devereux in March were all birds hatched in 2019. The overall adult-like appearance isn't much different from what we saw in late May, and any differences between today's bird and the May bird, and between the May bird and the March bird, could be explained by molt and the normal progression to second basic plumage by a single bird. While we'll never know whether more than one bird has been seen here going back to March, it's possible all the observations are of the same bird. 

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

On Fri, Jul 3, 2020 at 3:24 PM Dave Compton via groups.io <davcompton60=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Continuing the theme of possibly resurfacing rarities gone AWOL, I found a pretty adult looking Neotropic Cormorant at Devereux Slough in Goleta around midday, today. The bird was perched alongside a Double-crested toward the southern end of the slough, best seen either from the southern or the middle pullout.

I am not certain this is the bird that was present in Goleta in the latter part of the spring, and last seen in late May. Recall Hugh Ranson found an immature Neotropic Cormorant here in March. That bird went AWOL, for a short time at least, then a darker bird showed up at Lake Los Carneros. There was some discussion on whether that was the same bird as the bird Hugh found at Devereux, and I think most of us thought it was, and that it was molting into a more adult-like plumage. However, seeing this bird today, I wonder if it could be the same as the bird last seen in late May, but I have questions whether it could look as adult as it does now if it were the same bird that was at Devereux in March. So, it's possible that at least two birds could be involved. But I think someone is going to have to have a close look at a range of photos to figure this out. Unfortunately, as many of you probably know, my photographic equipment isn't the best, so my photos may not be up to the task. Hopefully, someone can get better shots than I did. But I'll post the best of my poor photos to eBird, for anyone who wants to see them.

Also at Devereux, both Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets continue nesting. At least two Great Egret nests are still active. Two branching birds are probably associated with a third nest. One Great Blue Heron nest is still active, with a still smallish nesting. We had a very early Great Blue nest at this location this year, with an audibly begging nestling in March. Last year, we had nestlings into August, which was late. Despite it's long breeding cycle, this species will often renest after an initial failure. They're even known to renest after fledging their first brood. Unfortunately, I can't recall whether today's nest is the one with the begging nesting in March. This might also require looking at some photos.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara