I was out looking for Otters with Ed last night on the River Welland near Crowland, Lincs, on a road following what is known as the Deeping High Bank. Will Bowell had seen one earlier in the afternoon there. Will came and joined us in the search but we had no luck and we eventually drifted along to Deeping Lakes LWT, where the highlight was a briefly visiting juvenile male Ruff.
The sun had set when we then drove back past the Crowland water tower by the bridge and continued north and east. Will was in front and drove right past a Shag. He later said he immediately thought he'd be getting a call saying we had a Shag on the river. That call came a few seconds later.
We turned the cars round and waited on the bank for the Shag to swim by. But instead it flew west toward the bridge and beyond. A drive past failed to find it and Will continued on to search for it to the west. Ed and I turned round to search again for Otters. Instead Ed remarked that there was a Cormorant on top of the water tower. Surely this was the Shag.
So, we turned around again and there it was on top of the water tower. It flew off through, circled round and came back to the roof of the tower. Later, we were joined by Bob and Sue Titman and we all watched the Shag in the virtual dark.
A few minutes later we were watching a large (male?) Otter snorkelling in the Welland. It was my first Deepings Otter and my first local Shag away from the Nene valley.
A standard joke I have used for years was to call any Cormorant on the Welland or at Deepign lakes a Deepings Shag, after failing to see any of the claimed Shags over the years. That joke can now take a rest...
By the way, Ed and I were out again this morning and saw the Shag flying north-east along the river, perhaps leaving the PBC area and heading back to sea.