Saturday, 6 September 2008

Phalacrocorax aristotelis (a shag) on the Beach.

Once the rain had stopped this afternoon and most visitors had departed the Bay I wandered down to have a look at the sea, hoping of some Shearwater or Skua passage. This didn't materialise although there was a stream of distant Terns and Gannets going by.

I was attracted to a High pitched begging call. Even this late in the season young Herring Gulls carrying on begging when adults are around. I don't know if it is their parent birds or just any adult that they beg from. This bird was sitting on a breakwater continuously emitting a piercing squeak.
Each begging call was accompanied by a toss of the head. Although Herring Gulls seem to have reached national villain status this week, with a huge amount of rubbish written about the danger they represent, I still find them attractive birds. As I was watching this one something caught my eye down on the beach.

Standing amongst the seaweed was a juvenile Shag. White we quite often seem them on the rocks on the south side of the Bay it is unusual to see any bird, other than gulls on the beach in front of the car park.

Although it was obviously aware of my presence it took little notice of me as I slid slowly down the beach on my bum. The bird appeared quite alert and I couldn't see any signs of oil.

When I reached, what was as close as it would allow, it gave me a prolonged stare, moving its neck round in snake like contortions. It's eyes seemed bright and I believe that it was just taking a rest from the dreadful conditions out to sea.

It decided to move on a bit and walked into the sea, when it disappeared under the next wave I felt quite guilty that I had disturbed it. On the other hand I was concerned because there were still quite a few people wandering about several walking dogs.
I was therefore quite pleased when it popped up, beyond the surf, and paddled off, hopefully towards the safety of the rocks.

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