Urban cormorant

While taking Lola out for a walk along the River Kelvin in the West End of Glasgow, I spotted two cormorants sitting on a derelict railway pillar in the middle of the river. Even though it was a very damp, dark and overcast afternoon, I took my camera out of the bag to make an attempt at taking some shots of these magnificent large water birds.

It was so dull that I had to crank the ISO up to 3200 to get the exposure, while still only achieving a very slow 1/80 at f5.6 handheld using my 70-200mm lens with 2x extender. Above all, it was not easy getting a clear view of either of the two cormorants due to the straggly trees obscuring my view and thorny branches swinging in my face, but I eventually managed to get a few good shots of both birds.

While taking some shots of one of the cormorants, I noticed a movement on the far bank and was surprised to see an urban fox out on the hunt in the middle of the afternoon. Unfortunately, the fox disappeared very quickly out of view after I had managed two shots with the cormorant in focus and the fox out of focus in the undergrowth. The best one of the two (above) probably qualifies for a ‘spot the fox’ competition.

The apparent stalking of the fox and vulnerability of the cormorant in the above shot is in fact an illusion. The two birds were quite safe, sitting high and dry (ok, not quite so dry) on a 10 foot high pillar in the middle of the river, with the fox merely passing on the far away river bank, as the last image illustrates.

Once again, today has proved: never leave home without a camera, irrespective of what the weather is like.