Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Beady eyes and incontinent cormorants on the Murray's Isles.

 I was bound for the Murray's Isles which house a cormorant colony on their rocky crest.

From their lofty perch the cormorants can watch for...

...passing shoals of fish.

 Then a leisurely flap of ...

 ..their wings and they are off on a fishing trip...

 ...to feed their hungry chicks.  However, one adult always remains at the nest to protect the chicks as hungry herring gulls also nest in close proximity to the cormorants and are quick to swoop down on an undefended egg or chick. The cormorants' prime nest sites sit atop rocky pillars and by late summer...

 ...the rocks are caked in their white guano. Photographs can neither capture the sounds or the smell of a sea bird colony. The cormorants are bigger than the...

 ...the gulls but the gulls are patient, waiting for any opportunity to raid...

...a cormorant's nest.

 The gulls are also breeding  and...

 ...their chicks hop about the rocks in large groups before...

 ...they are fledged and take their...

 ...first flight down to the sea where they bob about in perfect camouflage.

This adult was keeping her beady eye on her chick and saw me off the premises.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Douglas, Very much enjoy your posts especially as someone trying to combine the newly discovered pleasures of sea kayaking and photography. Can you tell me, what camera set up do you have? Best wishes, Fiona

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    1. Thank you Fiona. I mostly use a Canon 5DMk3 with a 24-105 f4 IS L. The cormorant photos were taken with the 70-200 f4 IS L lens. I keep the camera in an Ortleib Aquacam 7l bag. You could also get very good photos from any non waterproof consumer compact/SLR camera and keep it in a waterproof bag on deck. The Ortlieb Aquazoom bag is a bit smaller than the bag I need for the bigger camera. In rougher water I use a very old Sony U60 which is waterproof but only has 2mp. There were some photos from this on my recent posts about Ross Island. I also use a GoPro HD3 in still mode for rough water. I don't particularly like waterproof compact cameras as they never take as goog photos as non waterproof cameras of the same price but currently the Olympus Tough TG1/TG2 cameras are pretty good. I hope you enjoy your sea kayaking photography as much as I do.

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  2. Nice one. Cormorants are cool, great photos as well.

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    1. Thank you Maria. I hope you are enjoying your new boat.

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