Last night I had a meeting at Wellington in South Australia, about a half hour drive south of home here in Murray Bridge. As we crossed the river on the ferry I commented to my friend who was driving about the number of Australian Pelicans swimming near the ferry. There must have been about 15 of them. I didn’t have my camera and it was almost dark anyway.
Last year I crossed the River Murray on the same ferry during the day and took the photos on this post – but didn’t share them at the time. This is an example of taking birding a little too casually. I thought the birds I had photographed were Little Black Cormorants. When I looked carefully at the photo above I realised that they were in fact Great Cormorants. Observe the yellow facial skin which is missing on the Little Black Cormorants.
Great Cormorants are considerably larger than the Little Blacks: 70-90cm compared with 60-65cm. Their ranges throughout Australia are very similar. Their preferred habitats are also very similar: coastal waters, rivers, lakes, dams, reservoirs, estuaries. Their nests are also very similar: large untidy collections of sticks, weeds and bark, often over and usually near water and often in large colonies. These colonies can also include spoonbills, herons and other species of cormorants.