24th August 2014

Today, we saw two recent success stories on inland lakes and reservoirs, including many formed by mining subsidence in South Yorkshire- the Little Egret and the Cormorant. As children, we used to watch out for Cormorants on summer holidays on the South West coast, but now they can be seen as easily on inland waterways, much to the dismay of Anglers. Research shows that they actually prefer flat fish and eels so they probably don’t compete for resources with most anglers. Remarkably they don’t have well water-proofed feathers like most fishing birds do. This is why you often see them ‘hanging their wings out to dry’ like the one in the photo. Not being waterproofed gives them an advantage because it makes them less buoyant and therefore able to dive deeper. They dive with a little jump, catch fish and then bring them to the surface to

Cormorant with its definitive white/yellow chin and cheek patch

Cormorant with its definitive white/yellow chin and cheek patch

Cormorant 'hanging it's wings out to dry' after fishing, at Sprotborough Flash today

Cormorant ‘hanging it’s wings out to dry’ after fishing, at Sprotborough Flash today

One of 3 Little Egrets fishing in shallow water at Denaby Ings

One of 3 Little Egrets fishing in shallow water at Denaby Ings

swallow, head-first. Little Egrets, fish-eaters as well, are also rapidly spreading inland and northwards. They are small, white Herons, with a beautiful white plume on their heads. They first bred in in the UK in Poole, Dorset, in 1996. By 2006, there were 500 confirmed breeding pairs in 60 different colonies and they now regularly appear in many parts of the country. We saw several today at Denaby Ings, near Rotherham. Numbers build at this time of year as they migrate here for winter from the continent. Conditions: A warmer, dry day of sun and cloud with a gentle breeze. Temperature: Max 17- Min 12 C

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