Cormorants are landing on the Lammas Lands.
We watch them from the side of the canal,
four black phantoms coming in slow from the north,
all hush-hush, wings arched for the landing,
feet carving a line, long bodies glistening
in the water. Someone needs to document
the birds that use this stretch of water for their nests:
bitterns, grebes and ruddy ducks, great groups
of Canada geese, reed buntings calling thinly
from the willow, the pecking war of coots
and moorhens, the fearful jays, the timid teal,
but mostly the stealth-breaking cormorants,
drying their wings on the branches of trees,
like standards on the blue-shield of the sky.