Sunday, 27 December 2015

Japanese Cormorant - take 2

Having felt quite frustrated and displeased about the view of the pair of Japanese Cormorant at Shek O, my Father and I gave it another try on Sunday afternoon. It was cloudy but fortunately the rain held off. Upon arrival, I quickly glimpsed a flying Cormorant low over the sea, a quick burst of shots revealed it was indeed one of the target bird!

Japanese Cormorant - inflight shot

Ng Fan Chau - in Chinese it means "island in 5 pieces"

We quickly headed towards the headland and setup our scope, within seconds I had a single bird in view! Right where it was supposed to be. It was soon joined by it's mate, drying off it's wings on the rocks. Getting great scope views, we finally got to tick off all the key features that separate this species with the common Great Cormorant. Other then the preferred marine habitat, Japanese Cormorant can be safely identified by their more white underparts and throats during non-breeding season, the lower mandible is also yellow in colour with the lores, while Great's will be more greyish blue. Most important feature of all will be the pattern of facial skin and gap line, Japanese shows more angular skin with gap line extending backwards making a "V" shape. Great Cormorants have a more rounded edge to the back of the facial skin. All these features points towards the pair being young Japanese Cormorants. They were quite active, constantly flapping their wings to dry them off and hopped about the rocks. The pair certainly reminds me of penguins as they hopped along the rocks clumsily, their contrasting white bellies and dark back suggested the same.

Japanese Cormorants - the playful pair

Satisfied with the views, we headed back. A female Blue Rock Thrush sitting on top of a house ended our day. I thought the colours made quite an interesting composition.

Blue Rock Thrush - female

No comments:

Post a Comment