Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How big's that fish?

I had a walk along the River Dour at Kearsney through to Bushy Ruff early this afternoon.

I did see two Grey Wagtails, but no family parties and they didn't hang around for long.

When I got to Russell Garden there was an Emperor Dragonfly patrolling up and down, but never staying in one place for long. A bit of a surprise was a young Cormorant opposite me. I say it was a surprise, not because they are particularly unusual, but because it was quite close and I hadn't seen it arrive. It stood with it's wings open, and as I hadn't ever seen anything bigger than a Stickleback here it certainly wasn't showing how large the last fish it caught was.

I walked round the water so as to get some better light on the bird, and anticipating it would be shy, I moved very slowly hoping to get quite close.

In fact the bird was almost oblivious to people and allowed very close approach, although as far as I could tell it was perfectly healthy. I did wonder if it had been driven inland by the high winds and it was therefore somewhat weak and exhausted, but it seemed very alert.

With the sun on it's feathers it was quite glossy and allowed me to sit on the steps quite close to it while it started to preen.

It got in to some strangely contorted positions.

Despite those huge, clumsy, looking feet it was able to delicately scratch the side of it's head until satisfied that the itch had gone!

It didn't do the full preen, but did spend some time sorting out the feathers on it's back.

Neck rubbing seemed to be a favourite manoeuvre.

A close look at the beak shows what a great tool it is for catching fish. I've often seen them fishing in the sea, coming up with small flat fish speared by this impressive sword.

Have spent some time drying out and preening it re-entered the water, and had a couple of dives. I didn't see it catch anything, but I have to say the water looks a fish free area.

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

Aww! Really nice photos you got there! I seriously love birds, should have become an ornitologist. Oh well! Tough luck. Good job, keep them coming! :)

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