On a journey along the Standon Lane earlier this afternoon, a large black bird sitting high in an old oak by the lane caught my eye. As we came closer I was surprised to see that it was a cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo . Cormorants are no great rarity in the area – we have high populations in the Greater Lee Valley, along the chain of lakes that lead north from London at Rye House, Amwell and on the flood plain at Ware. However it is quite unusual to see one in the Rib Valley, or at the very least a first for me. The bird sat overlooking the fishing lake by Standon Lordship where no doubt it had been feeding earlier.