The adult Great Northern Diver was riding the waves towards the furtherest end of College Lake when I arrived at about 13:30. I scoped it from the hide nearest the visitors centre and then headed down to the Octagon hide for a closer view. The bird looked pretty lively and in good condition. It dived two or three times, snorkelled for fish and carefully preened its glistening, silvery-white belly, its back and its flight feathers. Unfortunately, it remained a good 350-400 metres away, meaning photos/video were rubbish (case in point, below).
Having spent an easy hour absorbed in Diver antics, I turned my attention to the marsh. Along with the GND, Rob A had found a male Goosander so I was keeping an eye out for that. Instead, I found a couple of Pintail ducks. Initial impressions, viewing into the sun, were of a scruffy male, still moulting out of eclipse, and a female. But, something didn’t sit right and I tied myself in countless knots before help arrived and the fly in my identification soup was plucked out. They were “first winter birds” of course.
I enjoyed the Diver but I learnt a lot more from untangling the features of immature Pintails!
|College Lake from hide near visitors centre. Octagon hide circled, right. Great Northern Diver & Pintail pair record shots|