Can you identify the bird we saw in the water?
Q We moored our narrowboat on the Staffs and Worcs Canal just south of Kinver, Staffs where it crosses Windsor Holloway. I noticed a large bird on the side of the canal behind the boat. It seemed to have some difficulty flapping its wings but then jumped into the canal and started swimming. My first thought was that it was a juvenile Cormorant but the plumage is rather light and the beak is not hooked enough. A search on the internet was not conclusive so I wonder if you could please tell us what it is. Graham Booth
A Staffordshire isn’t exactly the sort of county that’s usually associated with Gannets, yet that’s exactly what this bird is. This is a juvenile, as shown by the dark, spotted plumage, so different from the brilliant white of the adult bird. A few of these birds seem to have been blown inland during September (along with a number of Manx Shearwaters), and unfortunately survival is quite difficult for them away from the sea. This particular bird does look to be in good condition, though, so hopefully it was able to make it back to somewhere more suitable, either under its own steam or perhaps with help from some rescuers.