Its enemies call it the Black Death, but the Grim Reaper would be more appropriate, given what they'd like to do to it.
The cormorant, one of the most magnificent birds on these isles, is to most of us an exquisite, innocent creature. Catching sight of one perched on a rock drying its wings, like a travelling salesman opening his jacket to show his wares, brightens the day. A deep-sea diver I know speaks of this bird with awe, ever since seeing one shoot past him 80 feet or more below water. Even Christopher Isherwood, an unlikely ornithologist, immortalised the species (if inaccurately), in a piece of doggerel which begins: "The common cormorant or shag/Lays eggs inside a paper bag".
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