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Posted in: Featured on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Little Black Cormorant

I heard a large splash off the starboard side of our stern, at first glance I couldn’t see anything unusual.  Then I noticed the large shoal of baby fish that have taken to sharing our berth were schooling and fleeing in almost perfect unison.  Suddenly a large black shape was in amongst them and it was apparent why.  This beautiful black cormorant was having himself a fine feast.

Cormorants have large webbed feet which make them great swimmers and this guy was quick…and hungry.  He would dart through the school, dividing and devouring.  His slightly curved beak would be open as he chased the fish and then he would pop up and scoff down his catch.  A quick shake of the head later and he was back at it.

Here he is in action

What started as a shoal of hundreds of baby fish numbered only in the tens when he was finished.  I’m sure some would have fled for safer waters but I fear the rest became lunch.  It was a fascinating look at the circle of life in the natural world, and it was the closest I’ve had the opportunity to observe one of these beautiful birds.  I had no idea their eyes were such a bright green or their feathers so perfectly patterned.

He chased the school through a number of different berths until he had his fill and disappeared.  As cormorant feathers aren’t completely waterproof he probably went to find a warm spot to sun himself.  It’s not unusual to see a pair of black cormorants doing just that on one of the marina jetties.

 

A little black cormorant drying off in the morning sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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