Cormorant Island, Paxton Pits … and Graculus.

I LOVE cormorants! Always have, always will.

What is it about them..with their strange snaky necks and shaggy black wings?
We had a walk in Paxton Pits on Saturday and there on a little island in the middle of one of the ponds were maybe a dozen cormorants.

“Ahhhh” I said, as I always do when I see a cormorant,  “Graculus!”
For that is surely where my cormorant love started, as a little girl watching in complete rapture, the gentle, beloved tales from the North,

where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the Northlands tell a tale. They tell of Noggin, Prince of the Nogs. ”and the regal great green bird Graculus. “I am Graculus, royal bird of the Land of Nog. Guide and protector of Noggin, Prince of the Nogs”


graculus bw

Early black and white Graculus

noggin and graculus

And with Noggin off to find the Ice Dragon…

Remembering these lovely stories by Oliver Postgate made in stop motion animation by Smallfilms is being wrapped in warm blankets in front of a blazing fire with hot cocoa and everything that was wonderful and safe and magical about childhood.

If you want to see them again, hear that haunting bassoon music and those gentle soothing voices just go to Youtube and listen to the wonderful opening to Noggin the Nog. Ahhh….


It was my first visit to Paxton Pits Nature Reserve and it was fascinating. So much to see and so far to walk and all for free. How very lucky we are in the UK to have these places.

I read that these are mostly the gloriously named Phalacrocorax carbo carbo Cormorants. And yes, there were bees, lots of them, but I just had to sketch the cormorants this time.

Paxton Pits Cormorants

paxton corm island     cormorants paxton

Sketches, pen and ink ..10 x 8”

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. We were walking by the Dee in Chester a couple of weeks ago, when my husband asked what the black bird by the weir was – it was a cormorant. It was probably an opportunist fisherman. They are so beautiful, and I think I probably adore them as much as you do!!
    I love these pictures Val! Cormorant Island is really wonderful!!!

  2. I had a great visit to Paxton to hear the nightingales last year. Wonderful sound. Love your cormorant sketches.

  3. Thanks to both of you!! It is a wonderful place and so much to see. I do love those cormorants. They come over to the reservoir here too. I met another lady who went to hear the nightingales this year.. it must be quite special!
    It's very nice to hear from you both I really appreciate your comments. I am so busy with getting stuff organised for the show at Heligan and also trying to help with my Dad's care..It's a busy time.. I hope my 2 weeks at Heligan will be nice and relaxing!

Comments are closed