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Regular visitors will have noticed a decrease in posts to the HEMEL NATURE
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Piccotts End CORMORANT 'ZZI' Tracked 380km Back to Isle of Man

'Carbo' Cormorant ringed 'White ZZI' (center) with 5 of the total 7 Cormorants at Piccotts End Pools

I have just received a message from Kevin Scott of the Manx Ringing Group, Isle of Man, confirming that the Cormorant at Piccotts End Pools on the 15th of Sept. 2011, (see > HERE <) wearing the ring  ZZI , is of the coastal subspecies Phalacrocorax carbo carbo. It was ringed as a Juvenile 67 days before, on the 10th of July 2011, at Stack Mooar, Maughold, Isle of Man, 236miles (380km) away NW from Piccotts End Pools, as the Cormorant flys.

This is the first ever sighting of a Manx colour-ringed Cormorant in England so we should be proud that it chose Hemel Hempstead as a place to rest & feed. The distance & direction travelled, to an inland site, seems to support my previously mentioned idea that this bird may have been forced this way by the remnants of Hurricane Katia hitting hard between Ireland & Scotland (the Isle of Man being bang in the middle), & the subsequent strong Westerly winds across England.

Cormorants of the subspecies Phalacrocorax carbo carbo (coastal habitat & rock-ledge nesting) are not as regular at inland sites as their 'Continental' Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis (inland lake habitat & tree nesting) cousins, & particularly so here in Hertfordshire.

Kevin confirmed that the text on the ring is infact dark red rather than black but does appear black when viewed from a distance, in bad light, or when dirty. The inscription reads  ZZI  (zulu, zulu, india) from the foot up rather than  ZZ1  (zulu, zulu, one).

The 'Carbo' Cormorant's 'White ZZI' colour-ring & metal BTO ring
Stack Mooar is the largest Cormorant colony on the Isle of Man & was featured on BBC's Springwatch earlier this year. To can find out more about this bird & the great work conducted by the Manx Ringing Group click > HERE < to visit the Manx Bird Ringing blog.

Below is a map showing (A) where  ZZI  was ringed on 10/07/11 as a Juvenile at Maughold, & (B) where it was located on 15/09/11 at Piccotts End. To see the movements of all Manx ringed Cormorants that have been re-recorded since the project began click > HERE <.

(A) Stack Mooar, Maughold, Isle of Man
(B) Piccotts End Pools, Piccotts End, Hemel Hempstead

Below is the interactive map showing the movements of all Cormorants ringed on the Isle of Man, live from the Manx Bird Ringing blog. You can view a larger map with key by clicking > HERE <.

View Manx Ringing Group Cormorant movements on a larger map with key

Below is an illustration that may help with identifying the two subspecies of Atlantic Great Cormorant that we get here in the UK. It is only one of the identifying features but probably considered the most reliable - the angle at the rear of the yellow gular pouch. Be warned though that it is a generalisation, both subspecies can deviate either side of these rules, athough if you see a Cormorant with a Gular pouch with rear edges at an angle obviously greater than 90° you can be certain that it isn't a carbo. Obviously these details may not be visible enough to make a confident ID in bad light or at distance, the angle can appear different when the viewing angle isnit side-on, the pouch can be distorted by the positioning of the bird's head, & sub-adult birds may not display these features fully anyway.

Comparison between 'carbo' & 'sinensis' Cormorants
Reference: Newson et al. (Image edited for clarification)
To see a great paper about the differences between the two subspecies,
click > HERE <.

1 comment:

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