A group of cormorants arrived on our local pond this week. They stood drying their wings in the sun, monopolising a floating platform which had been abandoned in a hurry by the smaller, meeker birds who usually potter about on it.
Close up, cormorants look like survivors of an ancient species, almost as if they are cousins of little dinosaurs. The look in their eye is particularly remote. They seem as if they might have dropped in from the Stone Age. The other residents of the pond – ducks, coots, gulls, moorhens and swans – milled about at a respectful distance, looking like the cast of an amateur theatrical production by comparison with these tall, severe visitors.
We had a bag of bread to feed to the ducks, and when a couple of the cormorants came gliding by on the water we threw them some bread to see if they were interested, but they just sailed past without turning their heads.
We didn’t see the cormorants looking for fish, and in fact it’s ages since we’ve seen any birds diving for fish in the lake, so I don’t know what brought them to our peaceful park.