"Black-crested" Double-crested Cormorant
- On March 3rd we observed a lone DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT off of the west side of the Homer Spit in high breeding plumage. Its double-crests or nuptial plumes/tufts were entirely jet black (not white) as would be expected in Alaska birds. We watched the bird at close range for at least 10 minutes and the bird was unremarkable in every other way. The black crests, lacking contrast, are of course easily over-looked at a distance. While the black crests are the norm in North America's eastern and southern breeders we can't say we've ever seen them before in Alaska breeders. Does anyone else have experience with "black-crested" Double-crested Cormorants in Alaska or northwestern North America for that matter?
Also of note that day were a lone BLACK OYSTERCATCHER at Land's End and a single aerial flock of 750 SURFBIRDS at the mouth of the small boat harbor that circled for several minutes before departing the area.
Toby and Laura Burke