27 JANUARY 1956, Page 33


am always fascinated to see the cormorant making his way upriver. He is a wary bird and by no means stupid. Where the river is wide he takes care to keep right in the middle of the stream. When the water is low he flies low and shelters in the banks, for he knows his enemies. Sometimes he planes along to a rock and sums things up before going on, for oftcn a charge of heavy shot awaits him. A taste for Young salmon—parr or smolts—or ,a good brown trout lures a cormorant from the estu- ary and salt water. The upriver pools are not so buoyant for a heavy bird, but the black one has a good oily plumage and can swim beneath the surface faster than many fish. A friend has been telling me that he is now waging war on these unwelcome fishers that come to his best pools, fifteen miles or so from the sea as the cormorant flies. One bird he shot disgorged a trout of more than a pound. The trout's mouth was found to contain the ova of a spawned salmon, Altogether, I think, a rather compli- cated case of the biter being bitten.