Sunday, 29 December 2013

White-billed Diver

Last year when I tried for a big year list I did plenty of twitching. I considered going down to Cornwall for the White-billed Diver, but decided it was a bit too far. This year I've done no twitching, but when I noticed on Devon Bird Sightings that there was a White-billed Diver in Brixham, I thought it would be rude not to indulge in a last minute 2013 twitch. I collected Libby at 7:30am & we headed for Brixham Harbour, parking in the car park near the Astro Zenica building. Another couple of birders had just arrived & headed off towards the harbour, so we followed along. We walked to the entrance to the inner harbour where we found a line of about 8 birders with scopes. Within about a minute, the White-billed Diver popped up. How easy was that?! It gradually got closer & entered the inner harbour, giving us amazing views.

The WBD was very obliging & came right into the inner harbour
It was a bit showery, but luckily there was no wind & the water was flat. 
Met a chap using an Questar scope which cost him £2500 30 years ago!  You could see why, the image quality was excellent.
An impressive rainbow made up for the rain.
We moved to the other side of the harbour for even better views
I tried out my new 'point & shoot' Lumix TZ40 ....
...and was quite impressed
What a bill!!
Well worth the trip!

We walked out onto the breakwater & got a real bonus for the day with a Black-guillemot. I only saw my first ever this Summer on Shetland, so this was my first English sighting. It wasn't as obliging as the WBD, but I still managed a record shot.

A distant Black Guillemot 
The WBD had moved to the outer harbour to the left & the Black Guillemot was to the right.
Brixham from the Breakwater
Other birds of note were Purple Sandpiper, Black-throated Diver & Great Northern Diver.

On the way home we stopped off at Broadsands to see the Cirl Buntings. We met some birders from Wakefield who'd left home at 3:30am, been to Portland for the Brunnich's Guillemot, Brixham for the WBD & had dropped in for the Cirl Buntings on their way home! They were very tired but happy birders!

We saw the Cirls, what we think was probably a Siberian Chiffchaff, and a distant Black-necked Grebe in the bay.

 Cirl Bunting hunting

It had been an excellent day out. I remember now why I enjoy the occasional twitch!


  1. Hello Susan.

    I was watching your amazing blog and your photos of the white-billed diver when I noticed that we appear in photo 7, me, the person with the yellow coat and in photo 11, the three of us. It is nice to know that we did mostly the same that day. Even our photos are almost the same, you can see them in our blog.

    Kind regards

  2. Hi

    It was a great day & you got some great photos!