Neotropic or not?

Posted by Jane N on

In early July on Lake Francis I saw a very unusual bird I have not seen on the lake before. I was passing under the leaning pine tree at the point in my kayak when I noticed a strange bird sitting at the very top of the tree. It looked like a Cormorant but not like the Cormorants I've seen before on the ocean and in Florida, there was something different about it.

I pulled out my bird guide and tried to identify the bird. It didn't look like the Double Crested Cormorant that would be most likely to be in our range. To me it looked closer to the Neotropic Cormorant but then that made no sense that it would be so far North out of its usual range. Thought perhaps it was a juvenile bird not quite in its adult plumage. I watched the bird all summer and to me it looked like the Neotropic.

I belong to a Facebook page where you can submit photos of birds and ask the experts to help identify it. So that's what I did I submitted the photo and got no where! The first response was " the only possibility is that it is a Double Crested Cormorant as it is highly unlikely the Neotropic would be that far North near the Canadian border" Then the next response was " actually there has been a very rare sighting of a Neotropic Cormorant in Gorham NH. Gorham is about 75 miles South of Lake Francis, that's not that far as the crow flys! And so the discussion continued and none of the "experts" could agree on what bird I saw.

So what do I do? Go with my first impression and call it the Neotropic Cormorant and gain my self a new life list bird, or go with what common sense tells me makes more sense and call it the Double Crested Cormorant? OK fellow birders what's your guess?

Happy Birding

Sent from my iPad

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