Unexpected is Good, Right?

Getting a great shot of a bird that you often see is fulfilling, but getting a not-so-great shot of a Double-Crested Cormorant in breeding colors

is almost as exciting. I see these kinds of cormorants quite often, but I don’t think I have ever seen them in breeding plumage before. If I have seen them in breeding plumage before, it’s never been close enough to see the crests or the odd coloring on the beak.

One reason I return to Westport often is that I am apt to see birds there that I’ve never seen elsewhere. I think I have seen a Pacific Loon

once or twice before, but it’s always a treat, even if it is too far away to get a good shot and the sun is behind it instead of behind me.

At first this was “dismissed” as a very distant Common Loon, but the round head convinced me that it was something else. After waiting around for nearly a half hour it came close enough to get a shot of the distinctive stripes on the neck.

The neck should definitely be gray, not black, either the result of shadows or changes from winter plumage to breeding plumage.