Monday, 18 June 2012

Taking Shelter

In New Zealand, we call these birds (otherwise known as cormorants) shags. When I was working out at the Albatross Colony, when us guides named these birds as shags, we sure did get some raised eyebrows.
I seem to have lost my ability to identify the different species, but I think I am right in saying these are Stewart Island shags.

These little guys look rather bedraggled. The result of winter storms I daresay.

 This is another type of shag; maybe a pied shag; also looking a little stunned as it takes advantage of the calm in a sheltered spot on rocks at the edge of the inlet.

In Māori sayings, someone obviously poised to leave is compared to a shag (kawau) ready for flight: ‘Ka maro te kaki o te kawau’ (the shag’s neck is stretched out). People on a determined course of action are ‘me kawau ka tuku ki roto i te aro maunga’ (like a shag making for a mountain face). Shags also symbolise tenacity: ‘E kore te kawau e neke i tona tumu tu’ (the shag will not move from his stump).The dejected air of a sitting shag gave rise to the Kiwi phrase, ‘as miserable as a shag on a rock’. (Thank you Te Ara - New Zealand Encyclopedia for this information).

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Clocking Out

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