Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
This may well, of course, be very true but it raises the question that why do Cormorants need to do it when other diving birds do not? You never see duck or grebes, for example, drying their wings after a fishing expedition.
The answer could well be that the Cormorant has much bigger wings and. as it spends more time flying than a duck or a grebe, then drying them out is more important. However, I have heard a theory that this posture aids their digestion. Cormorants swallow their catch hole, head first, and it takes a good while to get the fish right down the throat and in to the stomach. Holding out its wings like this opens the passage way and eases the flow. There may be truth in both of these.
The Cormorant is very common on the coastal areas and the larger lakes and rivers of lowland Dorset with hundreds in Poole harbour, for example, in winter. Along the higher, rocky cliffs of the Purbecks they are replaced by their more seafaring cousin, the Shag.
Do you take photographs of Dorset and its nature? If so then please consider becoming a contributor to the new Nature of Dorset website which I have created and hope to develop in to the ultimate guide to what wildlife you can see in Dorset and where you can see it.
Go to www.natureofdorset.co.uk and then go to the 'Visitors Guide' to find out more.