July 2011 - Shags

Another bird that is found on both Staple Island and Inner Farne is the Shag. Similar in many ways to the more familiar Cormorant, but without the white patch on the throat, you can get remarkably close to these birds on both islands. On Inner Farne there is one particular headland where you can get in touching distance. But overall, the best location to photograph Shags is on Staple Island.

Shags make their nests on cliff edges and ledges, often including man made materials they find lying around. At the time of my visit there was a mix of birds still sitting on eggs, with others (the majority) already rearing quite large chicks.

The water droplets on these particular birds are indicative of the weather conditions during a lot of my visit, which at times included hail!




Shag with Chick Shag Preening
























One of the action shots I tried to capture was an adult bird feeding a chick. It's an amazing sight, with the young bird "disappearing" all the way down the adult's throat. 


Shag feeding Chick























Shag feeding Chick


























The other thing I wanted to capture was the way the birds raise their heads and pant to cool down.Taking care to use a shutter speed to freeze this shaking motion I managed to capture both an adult and juvenile bird doing this.


Shag Juvenile Shag


























Shag with Chick


For more images of Shags from my trips to the Farnes please click here