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Spotted Shags

Spotted Shags
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-12-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-09-05 5:59
Viewed: 4705
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot a Christmas with my 300mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter. Today it has not stopped raining in Cambridgeshire.

The Spotted Shag or Parekareka, Phalacrocorax punctatus, is a species of cormorant endemic to New Zealand. Originally classified as Phalacrocorax punctatus, it is sufficiently different in appearance from typical members of that genus that to be for a time placed in a separate genus, Stictocarbo, along with another similar species, the Pitt Island Shag.

Compared with typical cormorants, the Spotted Shag is a light-coloured bird. Its back is brown. Its belly is pale blue-grey (often appearing white), and the white continues up the sides of the neck and face, but the throat and the top of the head are dark blue-green. In the mating season, it has an obvious double crest. There is little sexual dimorphism.

Spotted Shags feed at sea, often in substantial flocks, taking its prey from mid-water rather than the bottom. It is likely that pilchard and anchovy are important prey species.

Spotted Shags nest in colonies of 10-700 pairs, these colonies are generally found on the ledges of coastal cliffs (see photo at left) or on rocky islets. In the South Island, they are particularly readily observed around Banks Peninsula; there is a large nesting colony immediately south of the city of Christchurch. In Wellington Harbour there is a large colony on a rocky outcrop known as "Shag Rock" just off the south-west end of Matiu/Somes Island.

The Spotted Shag was featured on a 60-cent New Zealand postage stamp first issued in 1988, in a series devoted to native birds.

boreocypriensis, Adanac, rousettus, robindb, uleko, cataclysta, bobair, jaycee, Argus, nglen, eqshannon, rcrick, albert, Kathleen, hester has marked this note useful
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To eqshannon: Austin PowersJamesp 2 09-05 16:41
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi My friend James,
A lovely and perfect shot of these beautiful cormorant, endemic to New Zealand, with great details on their plumages and nice composition.
Many thanks for sharing!


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-09-05 6:55]

Hello James,
Splendid image of a species new to me, thank for this and the great image.

Hi James
I have three species Phalacrocorax up to now. This is one of that I never seen. They are very lovely. You captured them with a great POV, focus and composition. TFS, best wishes

Hi James,

Good detail and I like the way the one is looking towards the other one. good timing.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-09-05 8:28]

Helo James,
Lovely capture of these two beautiful Spotted Shags by their nest on the steep cliff face. Great focus, sharp details and beautiful colours. I really like the timing and your fine composition.
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hi James
Lovely couple. Very interesting species. Good sharp image in natural surrounding I like it very much

Hi James,
this is an attractive looking pair of Shags which in body form look like Cormorants here where I live.I like their two toned gray plumage and those wing spots they have.Birds sure do come in an amazing variety and these two are the first of their kind I have seen.There is really not much about this photo I can critique you for as the exposure,colour and focus are all very good.The only thing that I wish this photo had going for it, is something you can not control-catch light in their eyes but that is a minor thing.Great shot and thank you for sharing it with us. Bob

very nice family! TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-05 9:41]

Hi James,

Another new species for me! Wonderful shot of this pair of Spotted Shags with excellent details and lovely shades of grey. The feathers are magnificent with a good view of the dark spots.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-09-05 10:24]

Hello James,
Nice one of a juv. and adult Spotted Shag at their nest taken with fine sharpness and set in a great composition. That 2.8 300 looks like a great lens and I fine the 1.4 converter excellent for many purposes.
TFS and I hope the weekend is less rainy!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-09-05 11:02]

Hello James,
From Canada to New Zealand, from Japan to Argentina, wonderful photos from all over the world. This endemic species of cormorant is another example of you great qualities. Sharpness, natural colours and composition are excellent. What a beauty!
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-09-05 11:17]

Hi James. We have had the rain all day as well. I think thats the end to summer. So nice to see the pair close up. Your lens has worked so well. Giving good detail and natural colours. well done TFS.
Have a nice weekend.

I often wondered about this name Shag...it is a name in a bird but we here int he US didn't have a clue when the first Austin Powers movie came out that it also had a different meaning I guess depending on how it was used....strange..nature is unusual in idiomatic linguistic ways...Nice image from your archives James!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-09-05 13:42]

The weather has been truly foul. I went to a photographic day at Cotswold Zoo with the Royal Photographic Society which cost me 40 and it rained almost constantly... I can't deny that it was a great day though :-)
This is a fabulous shot of these two Spotted Shags.
We can see those spots very clearly.
Good sharpness and clarity.
Excellent composition.
Great lighting.

Well done, James!


p.s thanks very much for the camera again, it's been a life-saver over the holidays!

Hi James..
Lots of raining in London too..
Lovely couple with a great composition...Colors, lights and details perfect. Thanks to share...
Kind regards.

Hello James,

Really nice capture of these two Spotted Shag's on the rock, wonderful detail in the plumage, and beautiful colours, excellent composition.

t.f.s Rick :)

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-09-06 3:21]

Hello James, Good shot of this pair of birds talking to themsef. You had captured it nicely with a nice natural sorrounding. Ganesh

Hi James,
What a great shot of these Spotted Shags.
I didn't realise you were here at Christmas.
There are lots of these around Greymouth.
You've captured them very nicely with great detail in their plumage.
Nice work.

Hi James
Great capture and composition
Well done
PS: if you can organise the transfer I will be glad to exchange some rain against a full bag of sun from Reunion!

amazing birds, love the spots. A nice shot, sharp, clear, fascinating subjects. I've been trying to get up close to the shags in this neck of the woods. the ones I have taken shots of actually have green eyes, which is amazing.
I love up close photography as it helps you to see these birds in a way, you couldnt from a distance. So thanks for sharing.


Hi James.
I went for a walk last week down the coastline at the 12 mile to see if there were any spotted shags nesting, I saw a few way out on some rocks but none closer in yet.
Great shot, lovely even light on them and the nest, exposed beautifully for colour with sharpness and detail.


  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-09-10 10:38]

Hi James

It has not stopped raining here either :(

Lovely shot of this pair. I like the matching poses and the natural setting. I love the interesting details in those feathers



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