MDIA3202 Biodiversity and Habitat for Media
The cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) around 80-100cm as seen in the above photograph. Eunis.eea.europa.EU, (2018), details, it has a long neck, with a long bill and streamlined head, an adult, is black with white on the head and legs. A juvenile will be a brownish colour. The wingspan of around 130-160cm, its beak will be yellow and of a hooked shape. The weight of around 2-2.5kg making it quite a large bird something like a goose. Both male and female cormorants are alike, with their white patches on their breasts and white feathers upon their heads. According to King, (2014), In flight, head extended, neck kinked; long, broad tail and wings (Web.b.ebscohost.com, 2018) Further reading identifies both sexes are difficult to distinguish. Utilising typical features such as colour and size have produced a general scope of identification. Avibirds.com, (2018), detailed long-term studies from deceased cormorants have shown a way of identifying the sexes employing statistical analysis. An exciting result of the size population and morphometric data. Ac.els-cdn.com, (2018). Further reading has shown that their behavior can define the sex of the cormorant. Extensive statistical methods have explained the differences within the sizes of the cormorants relative to their sexing. From site visits along the River Eden, there is a noticed difference between the scopes of Cormorants. They are just like humans with size differentials. Morphometric analysis is an adopted tool used to identify many other types of species. Avibirds.com. (2018). In conclusion, statistical mean figures for cormorant males. The study between body mass vs. bill length shows a 15% greater size than the females. Culmen vs. sternum length however only shows a 6% differential. Overall the analysis shows, shows that adults are slightly larger than juveniles.
Cormorants UK identification features distinguished by their markings and colour. Namely, their white patch located on the face along with either an orange/yellow or yellow pouch seen found on the throat. Compared with European or West African species, nbr carbo & nbr sinensis cormorants, they are whitish on the throat with to their underpants and a more speckled dark colouring. Further into the species abroad we now see a more defined yellow patch on the throat. Smaller looking type commonly noted as the Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) which is much darker with a narrower bill with green eyes. Paler brown underpants. Seen nesting on the coastal cliffs of the UK & Ireland. Further research has identified a Double-Crested Cormorant (Auritis) this is a very unusual rare species. Vagrant between the Shag & Cormorant seen with an orange throat patch. In conclusion, the best way to identify these is by looking at the angle of the pouch.
Cormorants have little in the way of enemies. Often hunted by Eagles, who will readily take a young cormorant. Their lifespan is often cut short from the predatory nest invaders such as gulls and crows. Habitats of large overgrown trees line up the River Banks, giving them security and plenty of foraging sites on the opposite bank with the dense foliage and sandy shores. Fisheries have conducted studies to look at fish losses however their reports did not signify an actual direct cause being the cormorant species. According to Kirby, Holmes, and Sellers, (2018), Studies on the cormorants have identified how the species has evolved in numbers, but we have not conducted any research into the loss of cormorants due to fish populations. Research has identified breeding pairs to have increased from 6400 to over 7200 within the UK. Resulting in yearly increases since the introduction of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Past breeding pairs of cormorants have dominated to grow within our landscape and river banks. However, their future habitat remains at risk as fish stocks become endangered. Some biased debates within this issue which give rise to further studies to be carried out. In the case of the River Eden which is subject to regular flooding events. Research indicated the possible use of screening along the river banks. Again, somewhat biased given the increase of eco-security and dominating predators such as crayfish. Draulans, (2018).
Cormorants are a widely recognized bird that has caused such controversy against man, fish stocks, and bird protectors. Research has shown an increasing predator issue. However, there has not been any conclusive studies to show the actual fish losses. Certainly, one for the future and we must balance out the single issues of the bird has caused the problem. With no proof of any effectiveness from netting or the costs of such deterrent available a solution would be to carry out further studies of the fish volumes within our river systems. Fisheries have developed fabricated areas primarily for the protection of fish stocks. Even though this idea would possibly protect, the fish losses results have yet to show that this is a way forward. According to Orpwood et al, (2018), the introduction of reed beds with a cover introduced with some increased results for flourishing fish numbers. By altering the habitat of the rivers to accommodate fish stocks the increase was promising and would give broad spread application for adoption. Nature and man have to certainly compromise with regards to existence and adopt new ways to live alongside each other. Predatory birds need to be monitored as much as the fish stocks to ensure there is harmony within the ecological survival of both. Ac.els-cdn.com, (2018), identified British Cormorants are P.c. Carbo breeds, widely persecuted for the damage they cause to fish stock. With an increase in issues often arising from fisheries managers and anglers seems to be gender biased towards the Cormorant. Protected by Wildlife and Countryside Act 198. Providing detailed information can be proved about their destructive behavior and after other attempts to resolve the issues fail. It is quite a big debate on how these predators are destroying the environment as noted within Ac.els-cdn.com, (2018); however, more attempts are needed to introduce reed beds for fish stocks to thrive away from the diving birds. These have been very successful from the studies carried out so far. Orpwood et al, 2018), noted many fabricated refuges placed within the waterways that were surprisingly a success.
Human use of location
Observations for my project concentrate upon the river Eden, which runs through Carlisle in the North West of Cumbria. Walking around the human-made riverbanks of the River Eden, it is easy to notice the surrounding trees give some tremendous colonial advantages for the cormorant. Providing a bird's eye view of the river below and protection within the trees. Foliage cover and deposited debris from flood waters have given a haven for wildlife along the River Eden. Observations of Cormorants have highlighted that they are often seen here as a pair or in a group of 3. Hunting as a pack, by flying up the River Eden and gracefully entering the water to catch their prey. Following the Cormorant, they continue downstream, diving underwater to catch fish before breaking the surface. They do not venture far from their nesting ground, returning to dry off. The cormorants' biodiversity and its survival have flourished along the River Eden despite controversial media towards the predator being biased. Site visits have shown the cormorants' lifestyle and the effect upon the river and its inhabitants. The cormorant has well established its territory here on the River Eden as the Map suggests. Conclusive research shows that flooding will be significantly detrimental to the future lifespan of the cormorant. Flooding affects fish stocks and water inhabitants. Dispersing them to flooded areas and resulting in a loss of food supplies for wildlife evolution. Has flooding changed the course of the River Eden through Carlisle? The floods which occurred on Saturday 8 January 2005 saw the worst flooding in some areas for 40 years. In Carlisle, around 4,500 residential and commercial properties were affected, located mainly on the floodplain of the River Eden. The River Eden takes much of the run-off water from higher ground to the south, and the weathermen say that approximately two months of rainfall fell in the preceding 24-hour period. Worst Flooding for 40 years. 2005. In the recent issue (Insurance Brokers' Monthly, 2018), detailed, how does the environment affect the predatory cormorant? Since 1770, there have been 137 recorded floods in Carlisle District. Data trending identifies flood areas around the River Eden. However, over this period, types of seasonal and sudden surges have risen to formulate data analysis.
How does the environment affect the predatory cormorant? Since 1770, there have been 137 recorded floods in Carlisle District. Data trending identifies flood areas around the River Eden. However, over this period, types of seasonal and sudden surges have risen to formulate data analysis. Pattison and Lane, (2011). Data obtained from the collected rainfall each year along with flooding before 1990 was in the region of 1183mm. SAAR, (1961–1990). Since this, the Environmental Agency has shown a significant rise within flooding levels up to 2800mm within the River Eden catchment zones. (Environment Agency, 2008). Historical data for flooding stretches back over 240 years. According to Pattison and Lane, (2011). Flooding remains a wipe-out of the Eco security and life cycles of the river ecology. From invasions of crayfish, shrimp, along with Knotweed and hogweed affecting the Eco security Concluding some significant findings of no mention of Cormorants as a direct threat to the Eco-System within UK Rivers. Again, we are seen to be somewhat biased towards the dominant birds as the result of fish losses. Evidence suggests that other species are detrimental to the ecology and these are the risk factors.
New research by Carlisle Angling Association, (2018), showed controversial debates continue as measures are imposed to control risks to Eco-Systems. However, where does this end? What are we trying to cultivate? The ecosystems or the entire biodiversity of the cormorant? Natural wildlife will progress on the Eden, but a further collaboration would be needed to ensure that the environment is looked after with a more scientific approach. According to Hufty, (1968), we can all help towards risk by reporting of hogweed along with sightings of killer predatory invaders such as shrimp. Flood frequency has worsened with cyclonic weather conditions. The outlook from the in-depth data recorded shows an abnormal result in future flooding. For the evolution of the cormorant, this will no doubt affect the breeding habitats along with their sustainability to remain where they are presently situated.
Observations along the River Eden as seen in MAP 1, highlighted the course of the river has changed over the years. One side of the River has been human-made with purpose-built banking to prevent the river from damaging and widening that section. Equally the opposite side has been left to allow the river to meander through Carlisle. Steeper on the right with shallow beds on the left. The River Eden lies on the Jurassic beds which are made up of igneous rocks. The topology of the area it is vast with flat floodplains visible. Recent flooding has damaged the human-made edge of the Eden. Following many site visits along this stretch have shown current work in progress to rebuild the weaken banking. As seen in (Appendices) 30 the river bank is reinforced with reed fencing on a banked area showing the introduction of planted trees and bushes along the lower sections. In time the rewilding effect will introduce wildlife and protect many of the species from its proximity to humans. Noted from a site visit after the flooding, Noted, trees planted in weighted cages along the riverbank. Historically this did not exist as far back as 1921, it was known as the River Eden. The future environmental for this section of the river will undoubtedly change as the flooding, historically is getting worse and will form a much more extensive river bed as it washes away the soft sand and substrates. In conclusion, we are making attempts to keep one side of the Eden from encroaching on the City. At the same time maintaining an environment for the wildlife with introductions of trees and stable riverbanks.
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Martin Pullan (2018) Cormorant Picture 1. [Photograph]. Wigton: Martin Pullan Photography.
Martin Pullan (2018) Cormorant Picture 2 DSC_5851. [Photograph]. Wigton: Martin Pullan Photography.
Martin Pullan (2018) Cormorant Picture 3. DSC_5491.NEF. [Photograph] Wigton: Martin Pullan Photography.
Martin Pullan (2018) River Eden Picture 4. Iphone1. JPG. [Photograph). Wigton: Martin Pullan Photography.
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