Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Black-throated Diver

Dungeness - 0630hrs - cold, cloudy, light airs - Started the day with an hour and half seawatch. Just as The Farmer turned up the first diver of the watch moved up-Channel and proved to be a Black-throated, my first of the year (only White-billed and Pacific to go...) Five years ago when I first moved to the Marsh from land-locked Bedfordshire I wouldn`t have had a clue about splitting a flying Black-throated from a Red-throated at distance. However, after sitting in the hide for 5 springs (well, not literally) and listening to the likes of Gullman, Marshman and the Weekend Birder, (plus a master class from the late, great R. E. Turley, complete with hysterical, physical interpretations of flying diver jizz!) something eventually clicked. Still can`t do them all, but given reasonable views the silhouette of Black-throated is bulkier and more elongated than Red-throated and without the humpback. The neck is thicker and the bill straighter, without the tip-tilt, and `hanging head` of Red-throat. Then there`s the wings amidships and the long, flapping feet, and have I mentioned the plumage.....zzzzzzz ok, enough is enough ...
Anyhow, a dozen or so Red-throats came next and I was happy. Also, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Little and 50 Common Terns, 10 Common Scoter, 10 Gannets, 3 Wigeon, 1 porpoise and the usual comings and goings of Sandwich Terns around the Point.

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