Monday, 6 January 2014

White Billed Diver in Brixham, Devon - Part 2

January 4th was my first free day of 2014 to go out birding and with a break in the heavy rain and gales we are currently experiencing I decided to head off to Brixham again as the white billed diver is still showing very well.

 I caught the train and bus this time and took my telescope with me and spent around 5 very happy hours wandering around the harbour enjoying the great birds on view.

The white billed diver was a lot more distant and elusive than on my last visit, probably due to birders hiring out boats in the harbour and chasing after the birds and causing unnecessary disturbance. At one point it was spooked by a shag which surfaced very close to it, raising itself out of the water with wings open and paddling at the surface with its feet, either aggression or display.

 White billed Diver - more distant than on the 28th December
White Billed Diver

The great northern divers again showed very well, they seemed to be everywhere again and were very mobile on the water and in the air, estimates from other birders watching the area indicate up to 80 birds are present in the Bay area. 3 black throated divers were seen, a lone adult and the pale juvenile and adult associating together. A female/juvenile type long tailed duck flew along the Breakwater and across the Bay and a female eider was diving close to the beach near the Breakwater. Purple sandpipers were feeding on the seaweed covered rocks along the Breakwater or on the derelict pier building, being very confiding but also very mobile.

 Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver

A red necked grebe was seen right out in the Bay before moving closer to shore, passing the Harbour mouth as it headed towards Broadsands, and a second bird gave amazing close views in the Harbour and definitely a different bird with much more yellow on its bill.

 Red Necked Grebe - my first in Devon
 Red Necked Grebe
Red Necked Grebe

2 black guillemots were seen in the Harbour, one giving amazing close views as it dived amongst the yachts in the marina right by the harbour side path,  it could be seen underwater searching for food amongst the seaweed and rocks.

 Black Guillemot in The Marina
 Black Guillemot - check out those red legs
Black Guillemot at the Harbour Mouth

I had a look for a recently reported Iceland gull without any luck although it was reported that day but I did find a few adult Winter plumaged kittiwakes along with common gulls amongst the herring, black headed and great black backs.

Grey Seal from The Breakwater

And so it had been a great days birding with some good sightings including my 4th red necked grebe sighting ever and my first for Devon, a good start to the year.

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