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2011 News

Urban Seabirds

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Cormorant, River Lagan, Belfast
Working in an office in the middle of Belfast can get a little oppressive at times for someone who likes the outdoor life. When the suns out though there can be plenty of wildlife to see close at hand.

A walk of only a few minutes has me on the banks of the Lagan which often has an amazing array of species if you look closely enough. Black Guillemots are still prospecting nest sites along the concreted banks and under the bridges, Redshank and Oystercatchers are regular in winter and occasionally Little Grebes can be found fishing close to the city centre.

One species which almost always about, along with the gulls, is the Cormorant, and at this time of year they can look stunning. As the breeding season approaches their heads can turn almost white and they develop a crest - adding to their almost prehistoric appearance. For a few days last week this birds could seen fishing close to the banks of the River Lagan. Note the amazing green eye.

The Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo has an extremely large distribution, being found on every continent except South America and Antarctica.