June 25, 2011 Dyer-Lake Co. TN Fulton Co. KY A run up the AR side from Memphis, after checking out some Western Kingbird sites for young, produced Black-necked Stilts with young in AR-MO and in Dyer and Lake Counties in TN. I also had Least Bitterns in MO and at Mud Lake in TN. Least Terns are desperately trying to nest on isolated flats before the water completely disappears but shallow water allows the predators free reign. Lots of Great Egrets, Great Blue, Little and Snowy Egrets and scattered Cattle Egrets anywhere there was water. Reelfoot Lake had little to offer birdwise, a few DC Cormorants, Osprey and Least Terns. Criswell has had Neotropic Cormorants at White Lake Refuge for a couple of weeks, one as late as Thursday of this week but I met him up there again and they could not be found. Glen went south and I went north. Nothing at Phillipy Pits but BINGO at Lake #9 in Fulton Co. KY. At first, I just found a tree full of cormorants but through the Cypress foliage, one bird looked good in structure for Neotropic. After 30 to 45 minutes of sweating buckets, the bird dropped down into the water and jumped up on a low limb at the water level. I thought it was the adult bird photographed on 6/19 but this bird had white filoplume tuffs on the head that the bird last week did not show? So, actually there might be 4 Neotropic Cormorants in the area of Lake #9, but until we get the 4 together? Almost as soon as the adult jumped up on the limb another immature bird joined it and they jousted and played with sticks off and on for over the hour. I tried for diagnostic photos, distance and heat working against my old cameras but success! I noticed another small bird that stayed farther up on the tree, it eventually dropped down and joined the other two birds. It also was an immature Neotropic but never really joined in the play of the others. I'm calling the adult bird a male because they usually show more of the white plumes during breeding season but that is variable. The question is, why is it retaining these plumes at this time as they are very short lived and are usually dropped before nesting or during that time? A long hot wait, but worth it for the poor but diagnostic photo of THREE Neo's on a limb with Big DC Cormorants as bookends. I've seen 2 Neotropic Cormorants in TN at one time before but now KY has us beat with THREE. Look for the small cormorants at a roost near you............. Good Birding!! Jeff R. Wilson / TLBA 6300 Memphis-Arlington Road Bartlett, TN 38135 http://www.pbase.com/ol_coot/ What is this feathered thing that lifts my heart to the heavens.