Mediterranaean race (P.a. desmarestii) of Shag at Porthgwarra

On Sunday 2nd May 2010 there was a juvenile Shag on the rocks at Porthgwarra resembling the Mediterranaean race, P.a. desmarestii. It was present 07:30 – 08:05 hrs when it flew off west. It was present with 3 adults and 9 ordinary looking juveniles. There is no proof this race has ever been recorded here with certainty due to the variation in juvenile nominate aristotelis but today’s bird showed several of the features of the Mediterranean race, most obviously the gleaming white underparts, wing coverts (it looked like a drake Wigeon in flight!) and bright yellow bill contrasting with black culmen. The bill also looked rather long (another desmarestii feature) – see photo top right. However, the bill also looked quite deep – an aristotelis feature. I’ve seen a few of these in Cornwall now but this is my first for some years and the first I’ve managed to photograph.  Dave Flumm

Shag at Porthgwarra resembling the Mediterranaean race, P.a. desmarestii. (Photos:D.Flumm)

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