tomwilson

05 Aug 2017 58 views
 
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photoblog image Farne Islands Shag

Farne Islands Shag

 

Yes, a shag, not a cormorant - the shag is the same family (Phalacrocoracidae), of course, but smaller and slimmer than the cormorant. Probably about 1,500 of them on the Islands.  Christopher Isherwood, who wrote "The common cormorant" was obviously not an ornithologist:

 

 

The common cormorant (or shag)
Lays eggs inside a paper bag,
You follow the idea, no doubt?
It's to keep the lightning out.

 

But what these unobservant birds
Have never thought of, is that herds
Of wandering bears might come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

 

 

 

Farne Islands Shag

 

Yes, a shag, not a cormorant - the shag is the same family (Phalacrocoracidae), of course, but smaller and slimmer than the cormorant. Probably about 1,500 of them on the Islands.  Christopher Isherwood, who wrote "The common cormorant" was obviously not an ornithologist:

 

 

The common cormorant (or shag)
Lays eggs inside a paper bag,
You follow the idea, no doubt?
It's to keep the lightning out.

 

But what these unobservant birds
Have never thought of, is that herds
Of wandering bears might come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

 

 

 

comments (11)

  • Ray
  • Not in United States
  • 5 Aug 2017, 00:27
Australians use the two words interchangeably, Tom.

The common ones in Thailand have blue eyes.

Lovely critters.
Tom Wilson: You've got a couple in Thailand, Ray - the Great (which is the same as ours) and the Little, which is not known here. You also get the Indian occasionally.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 5 Aug 2017, 05:32
The easy way to guess is fresh water, cormorant, sea water, shag
Tom Wilson: Not entirely true, Chad - there are a couple of colonies of cormorants on the islands also - although I think you are right in saying that the shag is a seabird.
Très joli cormoran.
Tom Wilson: Merci, Martine!
  • Lisl
  • Bath, England
  • 5 Aug 2017, 09:02
Not a bird you see often, and harder still to photograph, Tom
Tom Wilson: Easy to catch them on the Farnes, though, Lisl: they are nesting at your feet smile
Merci beaucoup pour ces explications . Une très belle prise
Tom Wilson: Merci, Martine!
Funny little poem. He looks like he has been gathering pollen.
Tom Wilson: Or perhaps fish remnants smile
belle prise!! amitiés
Tom Wilson: Merci, Jean Pierre
I like its green beady eye.
Tom Wilson: Yes - I didn't expect that smile
It has always surprised me that Isherwood wrote this

Nice pic!
Tom Wilson: Yes, I'd forgotten - I've known the poem forever, but had quite forgotten it was Isherwood - it seems so unlikely!
A stunning close up portrait. That yellow color is striking.
Tom Wilson: Thanks, Ruthie.
I like the yellow under his eye - part of the mouth I'd guess?
Tom Wilson: Yes - I'd guess the same!

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focal length 230.0mm
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