Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagius)
Channel Islands, California
Channel Islands National Park is one of North America’s magnificent treasures. I visited this gem off the California coast back in 2012 as part of a tour with The Sierra Club.
Like the Galapagos Islands, isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was. The park encompasses five of the eight California Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment. They are home to over 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world.
The Channel Islands are vital habitat for seabirds, providing essential nesting and feeding grounds for 99% of seabirds in southern California. Twelve species of seabirds depend on the rich marine resources and the isolation of these offshore islands to provide food and undisturbed nesting grounds safe from predators.
Double-crested cormorants are the most numerous and widely distributed species of the six North American cormorants. Their range extends from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Mexico. Like other cormorants, their feathers are not waterproof and they need to dry their wings after spending time in the water. I captured this cormorant in flight at as the rose over the tranquil, glass like water.
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