Back on one of the hotter days here in Colorado, I decided to scout along the southern beach of Cherry Creek. I was originally trying to photograph some small shorebirds that I believe were Baird’s Sandpipers. Baird’s are some of the smaller pipers, only a little larger than Least Sandpiper, which is the smallest of the shorebirds. Being a hot day, the park was packed, and a bunch of novice photographers kept getting far too close to the birds, repeatedly scaring them off, and eventually making them quite scarce.
Farther down the beach, past a big stretch of this black, nasty, sucking muck (which was quite difficult to cross without getting stuck and losing my shoes!), I came to the Cormorant hangout. A bunch of rotted felled trees and their roots, tree stumps, and logs are scattered about the south eastern bank, and out several hundred yards into the lake. The cormorants like to stake out each and every individual tree stump, and crews of them hang out on the felled trees and logs. Great Blue Herons dot the landscape here and there as well, the odd bird out on a random stump here and there, usually trickin it out on one leg, often with a single wing outstretched. Pelicans guzzle fish while floating between the birds sunning on the stumps.
The sight I always love to see when it comes to cormorants is when they line up, evenly spaced, along the length of an outstretched log. Or when they each take one root on a felled tree, unevenly but brilliantly scattered in a vertical plane of ordered chaos. Every stump, rock, even buoys and every other perch large enough for a single bird always has a cormorant on it. Cormorants are beautiful birds, when you can get close enough. While they appear dull and black at a distance, they are rather graceful birds, with long sinuous necks, a beautiful pattern of feathers on their backs, and stunning jewel-blue eyes.
When I first picked up the 7D, one of my very first outings was to photograph cormorants and great blue herons in the riparian area of Chatfield State Park. Like most birds here in Colorado, they are rather averse to human contact, and I was never able to photograph them close enough to truly capture the beauty of their deep blue-green eyes. One of the more stunning in the bird world, in my opinion. The image below is a fairly tight crop, and I still hope someday to get close enough to fill my entire frame with one of these beautiful birds heads, and capture the true beauty of those stunning eyes.