Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Cormorant.

Cormorant. Pete Woodruff.

On Monday I found the Cormorant in the photograph above at Glasson Dock. In all my years birding it is by far the best opportunity I ever had of studying this species at close quarters in particular in the photograph once I got it off the card in my camera and on to the computer. I know at least one consultant of mine  - with my appreciation for comments on this bird - who agrees with the claim that it is indeed a strong contender of the subspecies 'Continental Cormorant' sinensis

Cormorant ID is shrouded in confusion when it comes to claiming sinensis, in the past some believed ID was achieved by the amount of white feathering on the head but this is now known to be erroneous and claims are now based upon the shape/size of the gular patch. Breeding adults are whiter-headed than the British Cormorant but the amount of white in the latter varies increasingly with age and older carbo may be very white headed and are not separable from sinensis by this feature. They breed in the Netherlands, south and central Europe east to Asia, India, and China and are more migratory than British Cormorants with some moving south to Egypt and the Persian Gulf.

In Mitchells day the Cormorant in Lancashire was regarded as 'numerous' only on the Mersey sandbanks with just single figures at other coastal sites, but Oakes added the Lune, Wyre, and Ribble to the list of major sites but never quoted any figures.

The first British record of Cormorant of the subspecies sinensis was of a bird at Christchurch in Hampshire in 1873 and was accepted by the BOU 58 years later in 1931. Evidence of conclusive proof was provided when a bird found in Newhaven, Sussex in February 1936 had been ringed in Germany in May three years earlier in 1933.

Tomorrow - if the weather is suitable - it is quite possible I'll go up Clougha/Birk Bank, if I do I'll be more than a little surprised to find a Stonechat up there, if I find two I'll be more than a little amazed, but....birds never cease to amaze me!


Phil said...

Both the birds and the birders get a little grey on the head with the natural ageing process Pete. In the latter this is often made worse by stressing over birding itself, which can make the actual ageing of the species quite difficult. Wish I had a head full of black hair like I used to.

Pete Woodruff said...

I had an auntie who - unknown to herself - offended me one day by making the comment that my hair was so black I must dye it, little did she know I had no idea what hair dye looked like let alone use it....its mainly 'silver' now....but whats all this got to do with a Continental Cormorant Phil!

Geoff Gradwell said...

I wouldn't know one Cormorant to the next unless I had them side by side at the same time, with my glasses on! Other than I was reliably informed the Juvenile at Fairhaven Lake back in August 2009 was of sinensis.
If it helps anyone... see

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for the link Geoff which I personally already know about.

The bird in the pic and discussed in the post is a confirmed 'Continental Cormorant'.