Thursday, 1 December 2011

Tails of the expected

Having had our Indian Summer we now seem to have the monsoon season. In between the "showers" that were forecast I zipped down to Dover to check out the harbour for any wind blown strays, as I had intended to do, two days ago.

I wasn't lucky, no divers or auks so I contented myself with watching the regulars while the clouds gathered for the next deluge. I rather like collecting photos of bit and pieces of birds, legs, beaks, or in this case a tail. They come in useful sometimes. This one's quite easy.

Here's a view of the same bird from head on.

I quite liked the patterns it made as it landed. I almost looked as if it was doing a bit of ballet dancing.

I think that it is using thay large and strong tail as a brake, before the feet drop into the water.

Although Cormorants can't be described as elegant I think it's doing it's best! You can see the alula on the right wing acting rather like the flap on the wing of a landing aircraft.

Here's another diving bird, the main thing you see is how far back the legs are set.

There were about ten Great Crested Grebes in the harbour, there is a small flock each year, but I'm yet to find any of the less common grebes with them. The sheltered waters would seem to be ideal after stormy weather so it's certainly worth checking.

One or two Kittiwakes are often to be found here in winter. The winter adults develop a dark collar and hindneck and tend to look quite "grubby".

The jet black wing-tips, without extensive "mirrors" and the bright yeollow bill are distinctive.

I don't know if Black-headed Gulls ever form pairs in the winter, but these two seemed to be going through some sort of courting ritual, parading up and down and throwing there heads back and calling in a way I've only seen before around breeding colonies in the spring.
I made my escape as the rain returned, but this evening I heard that a drought is forecast for next year.

1 comment:

Marc Heath said...

Nice shots Tony and a good account to go with them.