Pygmy Cormorant - Phalacrocorax pygmeus

On Saturday January 23rd 1999 Wilco Stoopendaal and Cees Tims found a cormorant at inland Montfoort. They first thought it was a Shag Phalacrocorax aristoteles, but the bird was too small. They informed other nearby birders who came looking and together with them they came to the conclusion it was really a Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus! Next they warned the Birdline so other birders could see it till Sunday January 24th when it was seen in Mastwijk, a small pond just north of Montfoort (west of Utrecht). It proved to be elusive from time to time, because it left the pond every now and then and disappeared for hours before it came back. The bird looked adult and at first it was the trick to exclude other smaller cormorant species!

23 January 1999, Montfoort U; © Arnoud van den Berg.

24 January 1999, Montfoort U; © Rudi Offereins.

It was accepted as the first record for the Netherlands. It was predicted to appear in the near feature, since records in eastern Europe are increasing and Pygmy Cormorant is now breeding in Hungary, Slowakia, and Italy as well (Dutch Birding 21 (1): 61, 1999 and Dutch Birding 22 (4): 129-134, 2000). On 12 June, a second (or the same individual?) bird was seen in the Oostvaardersplassen (Flevoland) and a third at Soerendonks Goor (Limburg) and subsequently at Ringelsven near Budel-Dorplein (Limburg).

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