“Phwoar!!”

I was fascinated by this unusual looking cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) diving in a small pond in Alexandra Park, Hastings, yesterday. I even saw it come up with a small fish and gulp down the silver slither in a flash – too fast for me to get a photo of that brief moment unfortunately.

With its striking white head and neck, I assumed it was a young bird, but after a bit of an internet search, it turns out this is a cormorant in breeding plumage.

Of further interest (I knew nothing about cormorants before, even though we see a lot of them here in Hastings), to find one in breeding plumage this early in the year, and in the south-east, and with this much white, it was almost certainly the somewhat smaller, ‘continental’ subspecies sinensis.

I learned that colonies in the south-east, particularly inland colonies nesting in trees (which we see regularly in this area), usually contain a mix of sinensis and carbo and no doubt mixed individuals with parents of both subspecies.

When seen head-on, this handsome bird’s face reminds me of an emu!

Isn’t it incredible how vibrant and colourful many animals become to attract a mate? I think, if I were another cormorant, I’d definitely take a look at this gorgeous beast and go “Phwoar!”  

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Look at the trees!

It rained.

And rained.

And rained.

And the rain soaked up the colours of the trees,

and the colours of the trees soaked up the rain.

And the trees said, “Look at us!”

But all the people stayed at home, where it was dry.

Then the rain stopped and the people ventured out.

And even the sun stepped out for a moment,

beaming a spotlight on the rain-soaked colours,

and said, “Look at the trees!”

And so we did.