Welcome to my 2018 Twelve Days of Photos, where I look at one of the images I chose to include in my best of year selection and talk a bit about it. To see the entire list of images I chose and learn more about my year in photography, please check out my 2018 Best Photos of the Year post. You can also look at all of the images over on my Smugmug Portfolio Site, and I’ve embedded a slideshow at the end of this post. To see a larger version of the image, you can click on it.

Morro Bay Harbor

Following up on the sea otter image is this image of a Double-crested cormorant taking off from the water. The timestamps show these two images are separated by 31 seconds. The Double-crested cormorant is the most common cormorant seen in California, both inland and along the coasts, and it nests around Morro Bay by collecting kelp and carrying it off to build nests in trees. The yellow on the face is an easy way to identify this species compared to other Cormorants.

Morro Bay actually hosts all three common California cormorant species; the others being Brandt’s Cormorant and the Pelagic Cormorant. Those two species also nest around Morro Bay, primarily on the sides of Morro Bay rock.

It’s fun watching birds take off and land. You can see from the splash patterns this bird is using its webbed feed to run on the surface of the water to gain speed to get into the air, pushing off from the water to get itself airborne.