Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
More discoveries. NEW: Zeiss Victory SF 32

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Divers - NW UK

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:07   #1
andy hunter
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: united kingdom
Posts: 74
Divers - NW UK

hi

would someone more experienced with the red throat, black throat and great northern divers let me know if they think that these birds would be in breeding plumage by now. (i'm not thinking black throat so much, mind you).

I was in the outer hebrides over easter and saw -

1. a solitary bird, clearly a diver, of good size (in my mind i immediately proportioned its body to a goose), flattish on the crown, dark body, no white side flashes, white throat and the hint of a dark collar coming forward low on the neck. location was a small rocky inlet leading out to open sea.

i cant think this would be anything but a GND and although few would remain here by this stage in the year, any that did i might expect to be more into breeding plumage. thoughts ?

2. a raft of 5 birds, seen at a good distance thru bins, light black bodies with hints of white at the side (very white underneath when rolling to tend to feathers), light grey from the back of the neck to the crown and more extensive white coming up the neck to the bill. bill held up from horizontal. seen in open sea off a sandy beach. again - thoughts ? red throat ?

(i have a photo of 1. that i could post in a few days but only video footage of 2.)

ta
andy hunter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:11   #2
esmondb
The fool that MrT doesn't pity
 
esmondb's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Chiltern, Bucks
Posts: 600
GND weren't in breeding plumage when I saw them 3 weeks ago in Gruinard Bay, nor at Staines Reservoir on Monday.
__________________
regards

Esmond....B
esmondb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:15   #3
Andrew Whitehouse
Professor of Listening
BF Supporter 2020
 
Andrew Whitehouse's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 20,718
There are likely to be lots of divers in a whole variety of plumages in western Scotland at the moment. From your descriptions I think your identifications are probably right.
__________________
Andrew

Listening to Birds
Andrew Whitehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:18   #4
andy hunter
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: united kingdom
Posts: 74
cheers folks, interesting comments - reassuring !

i didnt add them to the vacation report i posted, just in case.
andy hunter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:28   #5
CAU
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,965
I have little experience of GND from this time of the year (it's a major rarity in Finland), but at least adult Black-throated and Red-throated Divers are in breeding plumage now (at least those that are seen in Finland, don't know about birds that haven't started their spring migration yet). The birds which look like winter plumaged birds are first summer birds (they don't acquire an adult like breeding plumage at all).
CAU is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:42   #6
andy hunter
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: united kingdom
Posts: 74
those are interesting points, thanks.

as an aside, i'm considering a visit to the Aland Islands this summer - gulls, gulls and nothing but gulls do you think ?
andy hunter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 12:50   #7
thorin
Registered User
 
thorin's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: carlisle
Posts: 253
Divers are very variable in my experience, on Monday in the Solway in Cumbria i saw 7 Red Throated divers varying from full summer plumage to complete winter plumage. I dont know if the age of the bird makes any difference, maybe non breeders stay in winter plumage longer ? There was also a single black Throated which was also mainly in winter plumage. I've certainly seen GN Divers in early April still in winter plumage. Your ids sound good to me.

cheers Nick
thorin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 13:15   #8
CAU
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by thorin View Post
I dont know if the age of the bird makes any difference, maybe non breeders stay in winter plumage longer ?
The age does make a difference, first summer divers look mostly like winter plumage birds, like I wrote in my previous message. Red-throated Divers acquire adult-type features faster than the bigger species, and first-summer birds may partly look like adults.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy hunter View Post
as an aside, i'm considering a visit to the Aland Islands this summer - gulls, gulls and nothing but gulls do you think ?
Well, there's certainly going to be a lot more birds than just gulls, for example lots of Common Eiders and Arctic Terns (even if you wouldn't do any birding). White-tailed Eagle is nowadays pretty common (in winter you can pretty easily see tens of them in a day), and other perhaps more interesting species (for a Briton) might be Caspian Tern, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Thrush Nightingale, Marsh Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Slavonian Grebe, Crane, Common Rosefinch etc. Also Blyth's Reed Warbler, River Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Wryneck and Red-breasted Flycatcher might be possible to find.

Last edited by CAU : Thursday 16th April 2009 at 13:18.
CAU is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 13:21   #9
andy hunter
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: united kingdom
Posts: 74
that is great news, thank you. with a little familial co-operation i should manage some of those !

previously i have only seen 1 black throat of the divers, hence the need for some reassurance !
andy hunter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 13:39   #10
CAU
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,965
Most species are much easier to find if you know the song/calls and which habitat they prefer. If you visit Åland in July or August, many species might be very difficult to find, as they have stopped singing.
CAU is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 13:45   #11
Fat Paul Scholes
My real name is Mark Lewis

 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 2,688
The majority of GNDs will be in non-breeding plumage at this time of year, (in fact, from recollection of aerial surveys of the area in April and late March I don't think I ever saw a bird in breeding plumage) Your description sounds like a GND and it is the most likely diver in the area at this time of year.

The second description certainly sounds good for RTD. A bit more localised in the western isles than GND but at this time of year could turn up anywhere. There seems to be much more variation in plumages in redthroats as well.
__________________
My website: https://lewissparky.wixsite.com/website
Fat Paul Scholes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 16th April 2009, 16:30   #12
Phil Bishop
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Stevenage UK
Posts: 560
I was in Scotland about this time last year.
Adult Black Throated and Red Throated were in full breeding plumage on the fresh water lochs, but all the Great Northerns between Loch Ewe, Gruinard Bay and Loch Broom were still in winter plumage. Did not see any other divers on the sea though.
Had hoped for White Billed of which several have been seen in that area recently, and presumably they too will still be in winter plumage.
I think that the only GND I've seen in breeding plumage in the Hebrides was towards the end of May.
__________________
Phil Bishop
http://philbishopsbirdingblog.blogspot.com/
Phil Bishop is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Divers??? Londonbirder Birds & Birding 5 Friday 27th February 2009 22:31
Pacific Divers Martyn Yapp Birds & Birding 4 Tuesday 20th February 2007 21:25
Are these Gt Northern Divers Pluvius Bird Identification Q&A 103 Saturday 13th January 2007 16:32



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.17748499 seconds with 24 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 02:35.