Apart from Bar Headed Goose, Common coots, Northern Pintails, Common Pochard, Tufted Pochard and Common teal, Cormorants were also found is high numbers at Pong Dam Lake during winters of 2012. This Photo Journey is dedicated to different types of Cormorants we met at Pong Dam and let's know more about these through this journey...
Most of the times little Cormorants were found on shoreline of the Pong Dam Lake.
Cormorants are medium to large sea birds. They range in size from the Pygmy Cormorant, at as little as 45 cm to the Flightless Cormorant , at a maximum size 100 cm. The majority, including nearly all Northern Hemisphere species, have mainly dark plumage, but some Southern Hemisphere species are black and white, and a few (e.g. the Spotted Shag of New Zealand) are quite colorful.
I am not sure but many times Cormorants are found in this position where both the wings are open even when sitting on lakeside. At first sight, I settled myself fast to click the photograph as I was not aware that it will remain in this position for longer time.
Phalacrocorax niger at Pong Dam Lake, Himachal Pradesh, India !!!
A cormorant facing the lake but looking back at my camera and cleverly keeping an eye on folks around him.
A huge flock of different types of Cormorants at Pong Dam Lake in Himachal Pradesh, India.
The Great Cormorant is a large black bird but there is a wide variation in size in the species wide range. Great Cormorant has a longish tail and yellow throat-patch. Adults have white thigh patches in the breeding season. In European waters it can be distinguished from the Common Shag by its larger size, heavier build, thicker bill, lack of a crest and plumage without any green tinge. (Courtesy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Cormorant)
Some of the White Breasted Cormorants were also there in this huge flock of Cormorants on shore of Pong Dam Lake in Himalayan State of India !!!
Many species have areas of colored skin on the face (the lores and the gular skin) which can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow, typically becoming more brightly colored in the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes, as in their relatives.
All Cormorants are fish-eaters, dining on small eels, fish, and even water snakes. They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet. Cormorants are most hated birds by Fishermen of Pong. They feel that Cormorants are one of the main reason of reduction in fish in the lake. Although experts deny from this and have counter argument that loss is trivial & fulfilled as these birds make the neighboring land more fertile. Some cormorant species have been found, using depth gauges, to dive to depths of as much as 45 metres.
During creating this Photo Journey, I came across a wonderful blog with great photographs of Cormorants and can be seen at - http://www.walkthewilderness.net/2009/10/birding-in-india-cormorants.html
This was my first encounter with birds and I realized that at least 400mm lens is must for Bird Photography which I don't have. Most of these photograph were shot with 18-200mm (Canon Lens).
Less zoom enabled Camera and clicking black birds - what a combination :) ... At the first place, I was feeling frustrated as most of these birds don't allow you to go closer and then clicking black birds with most contrasty conditions of Hills make it more difficult. Since I was accompanying other experts who were mainly doing Bird Counting, it was difficult for me to wait for right moments around a place and then move forward. I had to follow the group, as the most important goal was to do right counting of various birds at Pong Dam Lake.
More details about Cormorants and different varieties can be seen at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant
Little Black Cormorants on left side of this Silhouette at Pong Dam Lake, Meenu Khad, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India !
More PHOTO JOURNEYs from Pong Dam are planned, so keep looking at this place for more in near future.