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Taken during a wonderful day out yesterday with some friends when we had chartered a small boat to travel from Laga Bay, near Acharacle, on the south side of the Ardnamurchan peninisula around the sea loch, Loch Sunart.

This is a pair of common European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) seen from our boat and nesting on the cliff face at a distance of about 80 yards/70 metres. I took this shot at the long end of my 100 - 400mm lens and I was standing in a rocking boat so it's not quite as sharp as I would have liked.

From the R.S.P.B. website:

"Shags are goose-sized dark long-necked birds similar to cormorants but smaller and generally slimmer with a characteristic steep forehead. In the breeding season adults develop a dark glossy green plumage and prominent recurved crest on the front of their head. In the UK they breed on coastal sites, mainly in the north and west, and over half their population is found at fewer than 10 sites, making them an Amber List species. Shags usually stay within 100-200km of their breeding grounds."

I can thoroughly recommend the boat company, Ardnamurchan Charters, for anyone wishing to travel on the waters in this area, particularly to look for interesting wildlife such as herons, shags, geese, sea eagles, seals or dolphins though I'm afraid that yesterday was pretty quiet from the wildlife point of view - I think most of the wildlife decided to hide behind rocks and trees or stay underwater as soon as they saw us with our cameras!

You can see a larger version on "beta" TE here.

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1262 W: 391 N: 4632] (18676)
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