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My wife and I went to Smithville Lake this morning--arrived at about 7 AM--to 
look for the Neotropic Cormorants found by Doug Willis a couple of days ago. 
We did get a fairly good look at one at the number 14 access. The bird was 
across the water and to the right of the access point. It seemed slim with a 
long tail, and I saw or at least imagined that I saw the white at the base of the 
bill; the light was excellent but the distance made it a bit difficult. While I had 
the scope on the bird a noticeably larger and lighter colored cormorant 
preached nearby and the Neotropic snapped at it chasing it away. One thing 
that troubled me about the sighting was the marked red color of the area at 
the base of the bill. I had read that the Neotropic had a duller color there than 
the Double-crested. My worries were dispelled when I got home and saw the 
photo posted this morning on MObirds by Andrew Reago. That's the bird I saw. 
So many thanks Andrew. Also, I ought to say something again about Doug 
Willis. I'm quite sure that many Neotropic Cormorants, Clark's Grebes and the 
like go unreported because we assume they are the more common very similar 
bird. Doug always looks, and we owe him for that.

Larry Olpin
Warrensburg
Johnson County
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