Monday, 30 December 2013

Arctic Invaders...part two. 29th December

Distant views of the White-billed Diver just aren't good enough. Not when you see stunning photos of it taken at close range. Dave Helliar, Andy Grinter and myself set off early to reach Brixham Harbour for first light and crippling views of the diver that had been seen swimming just off the replica of the Golden Hind, which is moored right in the middle of Brixham!

We arrived, surveyed the inner harbour but nothing. It was low tide and we thought a search of the outer harbour (and deeper water) might be more fruitful. We strolled out along the footpath to view the Breakwater looking north-west. After a few minutes we located a couple of nice black-throated divers and there were plenty of shags and turnstones flitting around but no white-billed diver. It had also been the clearest night for some time and was bloody freezing! I left Dave and Andy to return to the inner harbour, just in case it had reappeared there. Still nothing. A quick call to Dave and he said he thought he'd spotted it out on the edge of the harbour some distance away but it seemed to have vanished, I headed back to our viewing point. Some time later we thought we had it again and as the light improved we located it over near the breakwater between some yachts. It worked it's way closer to us without being noticed by the birders lining the breakwater, who seemed oblivious to its presence and showed very well for about ten minutes at a distance of 50 meters.

White-billed Diver: R. Harris

White-billed diver: R. Harris
White-billed diver: R. Harris
White-billed diver: D. Helliar
White-billed diver: D. Helliar
What a simply STONKING bird! Check out that bill.  Video to follow in the next few days.

We headed back to Broadsands and managed to pick up more Great-northern divers, a black-necked grebe a tristis chiffchaff and about 10 Cirl Buntings. Another great morning out.

tristis type chiffchaff: Andy Grinter
Some additional photos of some of the Great Northern Divers present by the Brixham Breakwater by Andy Grinter:

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