Cormorants

Cormorants

I was talking to Logan in the office this morning about wild birds and he mentioned cormorants as controversial visitors to UK fresh waters.  So I looked up cormorants to see what was new and interesting.

Serendipity took me straight to the Alde Valley Festival which is exhibiting some of Maggi Hambling’s pictures.  She paints startling seascapes and by chance the Festival is using one of her paintings as publicity – it’s a cormorant of course.

Maggi Hambling's painting of a cormorant with struggling fish

Maggi Hambling’s painting of a cormorant with struggling fish

Among the artists on display until 3rd May 2013  are: Stuart Anderson, Marchela Dimitrova, Meriel Ensom, Kate Giles, Maggi Hambling, Mercury Hare, Raymond Hopkins, Robina Jack, Tory Lawrence, Ffiona Lewis, Tessa Newcomb, Jim Parsons, Dylan Pym and Sam Taplin.

Jason Gathorne-Hardy  says “It’s all about Suffolk and the Suffolk landscape and the way it stimulates the arts, the traditional crafts and people’s sensitivity to the world around them. I think it also provides a sense of home.”

http://www.aldevalleyspringfestival.co.uk/index.htm

In angling circles the cormorant seems to be universally detested but then so are herons and, unbelievably, I’ve even heard anglers moaning about ospreys; everybody hates geese, and even ducks have their detractors.  And I’ve read lots of articles from everyone’s point of view.

Juvenile Cormorant 2011 at Sandford Lakes, photographer unknown.

Juvenile Cormorant 2011 at Sandford Lakes, photographer unknown.

The cormorant above is conveniently displaying the juvenile plumage and the last pouchy vestiges of its expansive gullet that indicates the distant relationship to the pelicans.  This disappears into the sleek, sinuous neck of the adult.

A cormorant on the river Lea in east London, photo by David Bowron, from The Observer, Saturday 11 August 2012

A cormorant on the river Lea in east London, photo by David Bowron, from The Observer, Saturday 11 August 2012

Cormorants remain stunning birds, perfectly structured for their place in their environment; they crop excessive fish populations and improve the water quality in overstocked water.  They require about half a kilo of fish per day if they are fishing inland, less if they are taking oilier saltwater fish.  There are a number of photos around of cormorants with fish of a decent size… this one below would be a pike of about 600grms. It wouldn’t need to catch another fish for the rest of the day.

Angling Times 2010

Angling Times 2010

 

I can say that I’ve seen articles in which anglers have said cormorants should be culled to prevent 30lb carp being taken . . . cant quite imagine a cormorants being able to ingest one of those!