Monday, 2 January 2012

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.

After attending to a few bits and pieces at home I thought that I'd take to opportunity, afforded by the sunshine, of watching the Great Northern Diver in nice light. Little did I know!

There are still a few Guillemots around the harbour, as there have been for a while, but unfortunately today they were never close to to me. If I saw one close to the pier as I walked up, by the time I was in that area it had dived it's way further out.

Now the Guillemots have be joined by a few Razorbills. They normally are less numerous round this part of the coast than Guillemots, but occasionally we do get an influx of them. Like the Guillemots I didn't manage any really close views, but I did enjoy watching these attractive auks as they made use of the calmer waters of the harbour to feed. All the time I was watching out for the Great Northern Diver. I learnt from Chiddy that it had been in the inner harbour, near the Life Boat earlier in the morning but that it had drifted further out as the tide had retreated.

Turnstones are waders, normally a wary family. It is therefore unusual that some have become habituated to people, most notably fisherman. The Prince of Wales Pier is not the only pier where I seen tame Turnstones and I've heard of them visiting garden feeding stations in some coastal villages.

Finally, as the sun started to disappear behind Shakespeare Cliff, the Great Northern swam past the south pier, into the tidal basin and then into the marina. With the sun behind it it was almost a silhouette.

It wasn't long before it was diving and appearing at the surface with one of it's favourite food items a nice crunchy crab. It caught a number of these, some very small, and easily swallowed, but a couple of others that it had to takes it's time over.

A few Moorhens can be seen around the Marina, I sure walking round the areas that Yachts moor is not the way they got got their names though.

It seems that some gulls are reluctant to grow up. all the time we were around the Wellington Dock, where the Diver ended up, this juvenile Herring Gull was giving out it's begging call. I didn't see any adult feed it, but judging by it's persistence the bird still remained hopeful of coning a beakful out of a "gullible" adult!

The Great Northern Diver did give us some very good views in the end. It is the first time that I've photographed this bird using flash. The bird was close enough, and the light was bad enough to make it useful!

I watched almost below the bridge on Union Street, before reluctantly leaving it, in order to get back to my car before a traffic warden noticed I'd out stayed my welcome (were they working today, being a bank holiday?).
In all a pleasant few hours birding, good company and a lot of sunshine. I only recorded thirteen species, bringing my year list to the dizzying heights of 23.


Steve Ashton said...

Nice day Tony, and then rushing home to watch the mighty ???? Gooners carry on their frustrating habit of losing games that they should be easily winning.

Marianne said...

Good stuff Tony, nice photos of the Great Northern. As for the year list, slow and steady wins the race :)

Tony Morris said...

Yes Steve, a very disappointing end to a good day.

Tony Morris said...

Marianne, my racing days are over, unless my Grandson re-awakes a bit of competitiveness!

Mike H said...

Good account Tony shame about the gooners result but you did get some decent sights today. Nice to meet you. Like you i got thirteen species from around the harbour but did see the Little Owl at Samphire on my way home .Happy 2012.