Saturday, 22 March 2008

Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) - Coate Water Country Park, Wiltshire. 22nd March 2008.

Red-throated Diver.

I headed off to Coate Water Country Park near Swindon, Wiltshire (SU177826) today with the hope of catching up with a Red-throated Diver that had been found on the 18th March, with the strong winds that have been blowing across the UK recently it was always a possibility of something interesting turning up but it's always a case of where and when. Even though the weather tried it's best to put me off I headed off to see the Diver or "Loon" as they're known in North America. After driving through rain, hail, sleet, snow and the odd sunny spell I arrived at my destination and within a minute of parking the car I was watching my first Sand Martins of the year which were busy feeding across the lakes surface.

The Diver was relatively close, sat on the water next to an island in all it's splendour, the dark red throat patch being clear to see on this adult bird as it preened for sometime before slowly drifting out towards the centre of the lake. After sleeping through the worst of the frequent Hail storms the Diver started to feed and I was amazed to see how long it could dive for, it seemed close to a minute at some periods often surfacing a great distance from where it submerged, much longer than the Great-crested Grebes and Cormorants that were also present and feeding.

As the next torrent of hail and sleet started I decided to make my way home and left the Diver as it continued further down the lake to feed, it's certainly my best views of any of the Diver family I have ever had, all of the Divers I have seen have been in Winter plumage and mostly out at sea so to see an Adult Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage was certainly worth the wait.

Added To My Year List

121. Sand Martin
122. Red-throated Diver

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