Blue darters and cormorants

According to the books Australasian Darters and Little Pied Cormorants don’t have any blue colouring.

 Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae)
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/320, f/7.1, ISO 500, focal length 170mm


The image above was taken late in the afternoon when the sunlight was coming from a low angle. I have been watching darters for several months and the blueness of their feathers is obvious but none of the field guides mention blue! They don’t even  say ‘blue-black’ sheen. I’ve checked Pizzey & Knight, Morcambe, Slater, and Simpson & Day. I looked in the Reader Digest’s Complete Book of Australian Birds, I checked online sites including Birdlife Australia and the Avianweb, neither of which mention blue despite some of their images showing the colour. It’s very strange.

It’s fascinating that some of the darter’s tail feathers and primaries look like seed pods and I really like the bug damage that looks like grub grafitti on the fallen tree.


Little Pied Cormorant


And despite the books stating that Little Pied Cormorants are ‘entirely black above’ this one definitely shows some blue. If I hadn’t seen the colouration with the naked eye I might try to expain it away as some kind of  chromatic aberration. As the Little Pied was swimming it looked as though it was being followed by a blue object, its tail. Morcombe mentions a slight greenish sheen for littles but this is definitely blue and definitely not slight.


Little Pied Cormorant


The image above doesn’t show any blue but its body and tail look like they belong to an otter or water rat.

I haven’t enhanced the blue in the images so hope that it shows on all screens, otherwise I could have people thoughtfully booking me places in homes for the bewildered.

Happy birding, Kim



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