From the car park I could see a drake Eider heading east and then what looked like mergansers heading west, they were too distant to be certain. With some activity on the sea I decided to head there first.
The first few birds I picked up on a flat calm sea were Great Crested Grebes but then a Great Northern Diver. He sat very low in the water with a big lumpy head, huge bill and dark half collar. I tried to get some video but it was very frustrating. He dived for a minute reappeared in a different position and was then on the surface for less than 10 seconds, by the time I’d found him again he was diving.
I’d been half expecting mergansers for a fortnight and so it was great to finally watch three Red-breasted Mergansers heading west, a patch tick and the first of the winter.
The walk over to the hides was fairly quiet other than three Fieldfare overhead. A pair of Pochard were resting directly out from B Water hide. Around 200 Lapwing were on the scrape viewable from DL’O hide, there was a single Black-tailed Godwit with them. I’d also noticed a single Black-tailed Godwit with a large group of Lapwing on 4th November, perhaps it was the same godwit still thinking he was a Lapwing. Nearby yesterday’s seven Avocet were still on the scrape feeding in the slightly deeper water.
Pochard and Gadwall
I spent an hour or so watching from the Sailing Club, there were few bird highlights here although it was great to find a Common Seal looking straight at me and showing his heart shaped nostrils.
After a sandwich I headed down to the beach again and soon picked up a distant diver heading west. Even at this distance it looked too slight for Great Northern Diver. As it flew closer I could see a smallish head which was extensively white and with a characteristic head nodding movement. My first Red-throated Diver at NO.
As I was watching the diver I could hear the Dartford Warbler calling behind me. After the diver had disappeared towards P Shore I began to look for the warbler. I ended up with some reasonable pictures and was surprised to see that it had a metal ring on its right leg.
This is definitely a second bird. Based on my photos I’d say this 2nd bird is a female and the first is a male. If I’m right and they both stick around then this could be the return of breeding Dartford Warblers.