Double-crested Cormorant at Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage
- This morning was an auspicious start for weekend birding at Westchester for my wife Susan and I. Walking down to the lagoon we found a merlin pulling meat from the breast of a freshly killed swallow in the cottonwoods by 12th & U. Soon after setting up our scope near the boat landing, Susan spotted what she thought was a cormorant heading into the little cove just east of the landing. I have never seen a cormorant there before, but a few minutes later we both got an excellent look at the white plume above the eye and the orange behind the bill as cormorant flew from near the east island out toward the mud flats.
Also seen on or above the lagoon were red-necked grebes, Canada geese, mallards, gadwalls, American wigeons, northern shovelers, canvasbacks (which seem to me to be visiting the lagoon more often in the last 2 years) scaup, buffleheads, common goldeneyes, arctic terns, mew gulls, herring gulls, rock doves, magpies, and (sigh) starlings. For the fourth year in a row the mew gulls are tolerating--barely--a pair of herring gulls nesting on the tip of the east end of the west island, but as always there is swift punishment for venturing past the invisible line about 3 meters in from the east tip.