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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Royaldevon (37519) 2014-05-26 12:21
I think this is a fine shot of the shags but, when you explain the shooting conditions, I am even more impressed!
I have no doubt that you have had cropped it but the result is an excellent composition, the two birds very nicely connected, in a protective, united way.
For such a long distance shot, the clarity is excellent, good eye contact, particularly with the male, and with honest plumage colours.
My warm regards,
Silvio1953 (139727) 2014-05-26 13:39
Ciao John, great capture of lovely couple with fantastic eyes, fine details, excellent clarity, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
mesutilgim (93868) 2014-05-26 13:46
Hello dear John,
Wonderfull wildlife capture in theirown habitat.
Perfect TE entry with many interesting and usefull notes.
TFS and best regards
emilbo (22616) 2014-05-26 13:55
Quels beaux oiseaux!… et bien captés dans une splendide photo. La composition est excellente et les couleurs sont superbes. De toute beauté cette photo.
Bravo!… et bonne soirée,
delpeoples (57264) 2014-05-26 22:47
Ahh nothing like a couple of shags to start off the day!
And these are very attractive shags too :) The definition is stunning, and the colour is incandescent. I really like how you captured the gloss and texture of their wings. That's some very big hardware you've got yourself, the 400mm lens looks very heavy. So without a monopod for it, I'm really impressed at the sharpness you got.
I was so thrilled to get your email about your travels to this beautiful part of Scotland. So you finally journeyed to the land of my ancestors, eh? My gggg-Pappies Cameron and MacPherson, would have been delighted to learn you were in search of "their Bridge". (BTW With 19 children, Pappy Cameron obviously liked a shag or 2 himself).
Well done and apologies for being AWOL on TE.
jjcordier (79297) 2014-05-26 23:29
La chasse photographique a été bonne et tu nous en offres un superbe cliché animalier.
saxo042 (37794) 2014-05-26 23:50
Beautiful birds! They have also placed themselves perfectly for your picture, everything along a clear diagonal line. The green leaves enhances this diagonal. Also an interesting note, we spent nearly a week here in Acharacle in the summer of 1990. We stayed at Dalilea House here and did a lot of walking around here. I even took this picture there.
emka (94298) 2014-05-26 23:57
Hello John, It is called nesting? It is wonderfully6 sharp photo in given circumstances. They look like cormorants. And what a wonderful trip you made.
I returned home yesterday evening with my SD cards so full:).
WArmest regrads MAlgo
timecapturer (49288) 2014-05-27 4:50
a shot that is both beautifully posed and beautifully captured. The detail is amazing and the image worthy of any ornithologist's monthly publication. Stunning work!
Regards - B.
jhm (150674) 2014-05-27 5:20
The fright of the fishermen here in Belgium, in one week eat the group cormorant 200kg fish out the Lake, the fishers try with big pvc swans on the lake the cormorants to expel.
Excellent composition, nice presentation too.
And very clear of colours, pleasant to look at.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice day,
Tigerlily (3375) 2014-05-27 5:27
Superbly captured image,John. Excellent color and detail . I have never seen this kind of birds before...I mean, even on the photos... they are beautiful.. the eyes are so green.. Wow!
cornejo (40799) 2014-05-27 11:10
Hi John, Great shot of this interesting and beautiful scene of daily life of these beautiful cormorants, nicely captured in this great and beautiful photography. Interesting picture with good sharpness, light, color and quality. Very good and nice job perfectly done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this interesting work.
Good night and happy week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
lousat (89112) 2014-05-27 13:53
Hi John,this is a great scoop,a perfect pic for treknature too...ehehe...what a lucky meeting! You caught in a great way this unique opportunity,the detail are fantastic and the colors very bright despite the difficult dark light,very very well done!! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano
Glint (6171) 2014-05-28 10:46
you did really well to catch this shot as sharp as it is while standing in a rocking boat. What I love is that beautiful greenish colour of their feathers. Somehow I always thought shags were blackish. You have even managed to achieve a good composition with the tail feathers of the bird on the left pointing to the bottom corner, creating a useful diagonal line.
annjackman (21813) 2014-06-07 7:09
This is a very fine close-up shot of these shags. I am fascinated by the green and blue colour. When I have seen them from a distance, and probably against the light, they seem black. Excellent natural history photography under very challenging conditions.
Kind Regards, Ann
ourania (43510) 2014-06-11 9:14
first I'd like to thank you for your generous comment on my picture and then write you about this photo that I like very much. I don't know if it's easy to come across birds of this species, they are very charming and look great in your composition. I like how they are positioned and framed, how nicely they are integrated in the environment while their details stand out. The textures and tones of their plumage are superb and I also like the intimate mood of this fine portrait. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-07-11 6:26
Hello John - I missed this pair of nesting Shags, it was through your latest upload that I found them and what beauties they are. I think I have mentioned before that I am not a bird photograph fan but this pair are well photographed with such good colour and definition in the feathers. I love the beady green eyes and yellow marking too; both add a super splash of colour to the image.
An interesting nature shot especially because we can see the nest quite clearly
Have a lovely weekend
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (24030)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-05-25
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-05-26 12:07
- Favorites: 1 [view]