[Tweeters] 3 cormorant species nesting on structures at Half Moon Bay, Westport

Kelly McAllister mcallisters4 at comcast.net
Fri May 1 15:30:43 PDT 2015

I returned to Westport this morning, arriving at Westhaven State park and
Half Moon Bay at about 7:15 am. This time I brought my spotted scope. After
spending a good bit of time looking at the nesting cormorants on the two
towers, I came to the conclusion that the majority of nesting birds are
Double-crested and Brandt's Cormorants. There are only a few Pelagic
Cormorant nests. I estimated 18 Brandt's Cormorants in incubation posture on
nests that look to be constructed of seaweed and guano. The Double-crested
Cormorants are mostly on the super-structural elements and their nests are
dominated by sticks. When I arrived there were Double-crested Cormorants on
the beach picking up sticks and playing tug-of-war with bull kelp ropes.
They were quite comical. I watched one carry what looked like a 5 foot long
stick out to the nest structure and perch on a cross-piece looking like he
or she was entirely uncertain of the next move.

I'm going to see what I can find on Brandt's Cormorants nesting on man-made
structures. I've never heard of it before.

Here's a picture from today:

I'd love to hear from others who might visit the site with better scopes,
better lighting, better expertise in cormorant identification. I don't feel
that there's much room for doubt but I'd welcome independent conclusions.

Kelly McAllister
Olympia, Washington

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