Monday, November 25, 2013

Cormorants vs. Anghingas

Sparky was out for another 12 mile ride today…You'd think she'd be losing weight now that she's biking instead of painting the house, but nope! Maybe that's because Eldy keeps bringing home ice cream to eat. Sparky's favorite of all times is Haagen Daz Dulce de Leche…which has something to do with caramel, sweet cream and caramel swirls in the ice cream…YUM! So she doesn't protest when Eldy brings it home….She's just gonna have to ride more miles next time!

What did she see this time? Well, the gator is still sunning himself regularly on top of the water fountain in a nearby pond. Guess they aren't running the fountain at all or he'd probably be long gone by now.

Saw some beautiful flowering plants….It seems the cooler fall weather triggers blooms in some species of plants down here..
And the turtles are out in great numbers…but they are just small pond turtles…The anhingas and cormorants are out in great numbers….They are similar dark colored birds. They both need to dry their feathers out on land, as neither one of them have oil glands in their feathers like most water birds to keep their feathers waterproof. They are diving water birds and since their feathers are not waterproof, they can stay under longer to find their prey. But then they have to come out and dry their feathers off. This is a cormorant…You can tell that by the yellowish orange part of its beak, and the fact that it's hooked downwards at the tip. 
Maybe you can see the little hooked beak a little better on this photo…
As Sparky got closer, the cormorant got ready to fly….So Sparky backed off….

When a cormorant flies, it soars for a long time…Anhingas flap their wings much more when they fly. Anhingas have longer necks and tails than the cormorant and a straight beak instead of a hooked beak. The anhingas feathers are much prettier…The female anhinga has a tannish brownish head and neck.

Anhingas spear their prey, cormorants grab their prey and hold it in their beak which has serrated edges to grip slippery fish better. When the anhinga spears a fish, it typically flips the fish off the beak and swallows the fish headfirst. We've been lucky enough to watch them eat! 

Today, it was just time for the birds to sun themselves…It was a beautiful day to be out and about on a bike ride. Is there ever a day where it's not nice to be out? Not since the rainy season ended and fall is here…..See you later!


  1. Thanks for the lesson between the two! We've only seen a Cormorant so far, and he was sitting quietly on a post :-) Pouring down rain here now, inside day coming!

  2. Keep on riding that bike and enjoying the cooler weather.
    And I know you will enjoy the ice cream even more.

  3. Those Anhingas are quite amazing creatures, aren't they? Love them! Have a great Thanksgiving!