WAAY back on November 7, 2014 - I photographed an odd small cormorant fly past the condo in Stoney Creek... It was (presumably) a first-year bird, and did not match the characteristics I associated with first-year Neotropic, so I envisioned a future blog post on the "small non-neotropic cormorant"...
Two things happened:
1.) - I never wrote it...
2.) - I learned a fair bit more about first and second year Neotropic Cormorants... Check out the blog post on that - as I will chat a bit about it (!):
SO - the time has come - to put the fingers to the keyboard (pen to pad?) - so I can delete the photos to make space on my computer... Without further ado:
(disclaimer - they aren't great)
Here are two additional pictures that sum up my thoughts:
Facial Features (using this post):
1. - Yellow lore stripe = DCCO (bad for NECO)
2. - Yellowish bill = DCCO, uncommon for NECO (which is usually pinkish)
3. Yellow throat pouch obviously brighter than the rest of the face/skin (other than the lores) = more of a NECO trait, although I would expect NECO to be more contrasty than this (in typical individuals)
4. Non-pointy trailing edge of the facial skin = DCCO
1.) - long tail = NECO (not quite NECO long, but rather long for DCCO)
2.) - tiny "fingers" on the wing = more NECO (but very hard to accuratley asses, even with photos)
3.) - thin head and long neck, not unlike the tail = NECO
4.) - overall size was visibly smaller than the DCCO it was with
SO - the suite of overlapping features gives me that hybrid-feeling with this bird. Some features are flat out wrong for NECO, but I don't think anything in particular is a major strike against DCCO - so the hard-nosed keepers of the official record book won't be pleased with this post - but it's enough for me ! I have a metric ton of experience watching cormorants, and I've noticed that certain situations (eg,/ the 2nd bird in a travelling line) can make a bird "appear" smaller - but overall there is very little variation in the true body-size of DCCO's (especially discounting recently fledged/growing birds).