The cold began to bite a little more fiercely. Hands, warmed briefly in coat pockets, cupped sniffling frostbit noses as breath mist flowed through our fingers. Frequent gusts carried sprays of water from the fountain at the center of the pond downwind, in our direction. Like an unwelcome admirer, the wind matched our course and followed us wherever we went. I was beginning to think this birding thing was ‘for the birds’.
“Are those snakes?” Curvy black creatures stretched up from the surface of the water like snakes charmed from a billowing basket. “What are those things out there in the center of the pond?”
“Those are the cormorant,” replied Snowfeather.
“Double-crested Cormorant, actually,” Mimic added.
“Are they birds?”
“Snake bird.” Snowfeather said simply.
Mimic helped to fill in the details. “Cormorants are called snake birds because their long necks, sometimes the only part of their bodies seen above water, are mistaken as snakes.”
Having these charming snake, bird and snake-bird experts around did much to warm my heart but not a whole lot to warm my freezing hands. I didn’t know what I’d snap first, a picture of the cormorants or the five little icicles I used to call fingers. – Click