Sunday, 29 April 2012

White-billed Divers

A WBD was finally confirmed off South Ron today, this bird has been seen a few times but I don't think anyone had nailed the ID before, well done JB. What with ALs bird off Papay on Friday, in full summer plumage to boot there are clearly a few around.

It would have been very neat to have rebounded JBs bird with my own (we're having a bit of a listing competition) and but for a couple of seconds I think I would have, unfortunately.... I'd gone to the Broch of Gurness with that very plan in mind. Having scanned the water for about half an hour, two GNDs, one very smart in summer plumage, and two Red-throats, I decided to look at the hills of Rousay, across the sound, for raptors. As I was scanning the hill tops a diver flew through the scope. I realised immediately it was one of the big two and the huge feet and goose like flight made me think it was more likely a WBD. (I do see quite a few GNDs flying, this bird did have proportionately huge feet and an even slower wing beat than I'd have expected.) Trouble was I got on it too late and couldn't see the head properly, so I'll never know, as it just got higher and headed north to the open sea.

However, there were other highlights today, displaying Arctic Skuas over the moors,  a Siskin on the garden feeders (first for the year), great views of Short-eared Owls and (live, healthy) Hen Harriers, including a fair bit of sky-dancing, a smart Black-tailed Godwit appeared on The Shunan late afternoon too.

The Short-eared Owl had been sitting on a fence post and I'd stopped hoping for a picture but it flew off. I pulled in and parked as i wanted to check this spot for redpolls and saw the owl coming straight at me up the ditch.

This is the cropped second picture (probably the sharpest)

...and this is shortly before it flew in the car window and shared a biscuit

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