Cormorants on display at the Estuary

Sunday 20th February 2011

A sunny day, clear blue sky, bit of a breeze but warm enough to head down to the Reserve and Estuary to see what was happening there.

At the Reserve there were butterflies, a Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Large and Small Whites; there were also Violet Carpenter Bees zooming about. The water level of the lagoon was high, but there was very little to see – a Coot, a Moorhen and a couple of stacks of Terrapins hauled out on the reeds, which are beginning to green up.

The lagoon was quiet, just a Coot, a Moorhen & terrapins to be seen

Arriving at the beach I saw I had it to myself, so I stood for a while gazing out over the unbelievably blue-green toned sea, its surface ruffled slightly by the breeze and with a white – sailed yacht strategically placed on the horizon against the clear blue sky. Peace, quiet and beauty, just for me.

Now this is how the Mediterranean Sea is meant to look!

The beach was littered with bamboo stems from the reeds and of course a sprinkling of oranges brought down by the rivers, as always following stormy weather.

There were Yellow-legged Gulls flying around, some of them circling up so high in the sky that I first though they were something more interesting.

Reaching the Estuary I saw immediately that once again Cormorants were going to be today’s main event.They are looking at their very best now and perched up on the branches of the fallen tree parts, plumage gleaming in the sun, very photogenic.

Two elegantly posed birds, one in almost complete breeding plumage and the other showing signs

The birds (and I), were disturbed for a while as some over-excited children with a large dog arrived and began splashing about in the water, but the birds soon returned once the children had left. Some of them flew back directly to perch while some landed on the water and sailed in, as the three in the picture below. I love this image and it brings so many possible captions to mind it makes me smile every time I see it. Little things please little minds…

Three Cormorants sailing by, heads up, eyes front

The Cormorant's flight is fast, powerful & purposeful, a striking sight

A glorious adult in full breeding colours

 

Another view of the glorious bird showing off its glossy purple and green highlights

One last view of the back of the head and those amazing wings

Apart from the Comorants and the mass of gulls there were few other birds around the estuary area. In the tamarisk shrubbery I did see a Great Tit, a couple of House Sparrows and a Crested Lark that flew out to the debris at the side of the water and I heard a Cetti’s Wabler several times. Walking back I caught glimpses of Stonechats that perched briefly on reed stems or the tops of shrubbery, saw a couple of Blackbirds and heard Sardinian Warblers.

 

A Violet Carpenter Bee on the thatch of the hide roof

The last thing I stopped to watch before leaving was a Violet Carpenter bee that was flying around the roof of the hide. This is pretty much always a reliable place to see these lovely giant bees; on a sunny January day last year I arrived here in time to see twenty or so of them around an old decomposing tree stump, probably recently emerged from a nest there.

 

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