I was sitting watching a bit of telly, this evening (at about 7 o’clock), after a day stuck indoors, owing to the horrific high winds. But I got a call from my friend Don who believed he had found a Shag at Ferry Meadows CP, on Overton Lake. I thought, it was worth a cycle, despite the gusty gale. We don’t get many Shags around Peterborough, perhaps one a year maximum and I hadn’t seen one since December 2017. But they have turned up at FMCP in August a couple of times before in my time (2008 and 2010), and there had been a big influx inland after the recent high winds (with more than 20 on the dam at Rutland Water yesterday).
However, when I got about halfway to the park, Don called me to say that his Shag had flown off in the direction of the other large lake, Gunwade. I ploughed on, and despite the wind getting stronger and a very nasty shower, I cycled passed Overton and round Gunwade and saw nothing but Black-headed Gulls, Common Terns and a couple of Great Crested Grebes. So, I thought it best to go back to the where Don had originally seen the Shag, on the narrow gravelly beach of a steep wooded island on Overton, the trees of which are white with Cormorant guano.
I got the place you look at this island (at an old archaeological site called Roman Point) and a quick glance revealed there were 2 juvenile Shags standing on the beach! I called Don, who cycled over and we watched them for a short while before they flew out onto the water of the lake. They were constantly fidgeting and nervous, like new ‘stranger’ birds. This is the first time I have seen more than one Shag at the same time in the Peterborough area. Local year tick number 172.
Juvenile Shags, Overton Lake, Ferry Meadows CP, Petrborough, 25.8.20