By the wonders of the internet I can report that I have got a reply regarding the colour-ringed cormorant I saw on Ibsley Water on Tuesday evening. It seems it came from France, from the very same site as our long returning great white egret. Dr Loïc Marion of the University of Rennes responded to me as follows:
“Thanks a lot for this sighting. If I read correctly the photo, this Cormorant could be Orange(up)-Green on the left leg, and Blue-white on the right leg, however I do not see the metal ring. If OG/BWm is correct, this is CA 59920 ringed as nestling at Lac de Grand-Lieu (Loire Atlantique, F) on 13/5/2001. It has been seen on 30/9/2002 at Guadiana river, Badajoz, Spain, on 13 and 28/6/03 at Lac de Grand-Lieu (as breeder), and on 29/4 and 25/6//2004 at Lac de Grand-Lieu (as breeder). “
If this is correct and it seems probable that it is, this would be our first inland breeding cormorant recorded at Blashford, or at least the first with colour-rings. All the other colour-ringed birds we have seen have been from the West Coast/Irish Sea area, between the Bristol Channel and the Isle of Man. Birds from there would be the coastal nesting carbo race, but the latest bird would, presumably be of the Continental sinensis race.
The great white egret, if it is to return for a ninth year, should be turning up very soon now, so something to keep a look out for.