Monday 29 February 2016

White-billed Diver at Cape Cornwall

An adult White-billed Diver was found at Cape Cornwall on Thursday 25th February by Nigel Wheatley.  Following a stormy Friday it was re found again on the Saturday and showed well on and off on Sunday.  Whilst too distant for fancy photography, good scope views could be enjoyed as it preened and fed between the Brisons and the Cape Cornwall coastwatch point.

The bird is in moult and has lost its primary flight feathers.  When it originally turned up is anyone's guess.  It might have been there as long as early January, turning up after the big gale on 3rd January when a Ross's Gull was at the Lizard and a Glaucous-winged Gull was found in southern Ireland?

This is the 6th record for Cornwall.  All previous records have occurred in the first winter period.  The first record was in 1967.

1967. April 11th-19th one in Mount's bay off St Michael's Mount.
1985. February 19th. Carlyon Bay, St Austell.  Subsequently seen on several dates between April 6th and 9th. Also reported on June 2nd though this sighting was not accepted by BBRC.
1988.  St Ives Bay. February 8th-22nd.
1998. Sennen Cove. February 19th, one picked up in poor condition and taken to Mousehole Bird Hospital where it died on March 1st.  The skin was sent to the British Museum.
2007. Hayle Estuary and Copperhouse.  February 25th to March 27th.  A well photographed moulting adult.

Of interest, all five divers were also seen on Sunday 28th in the county on the same day.  A well organised day trip in the county at the moment could quite easily tick off White-billed Diver, Pacific Diver, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Lesser Scaup plus a supporting cast of Rose-coloured Starling, Yellow-browed Warbler, Glaucous Gull, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull and Smew! Can't be bad.

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