Winter is meant to be a steady time with not an abundance of new birds being found but a few long staying rarities. Over the weekend though a good few rare birds were found scattered across the north, and with my shifts at work now being moved forward a couple of hours for this week only I was able to get a few of said birds seen.
First on the agenda was a cracking Pacific Diver in Northumberland that was apparently showing exceptionally well. I made the trip up and was on site for half 10. As soon as I arrived I picked up the bird but it was distant and sleeping. Still not as distant as one at sea would have been but nothing like as close as it had been. However, during the morning, once it had woken up, it did come a lot closer and I was able to finally practice digiscoping with my new camera.
Overall I was quite pleased with the results, but still needs a lot of practice. I also took some insurance shots through Phone-scoping. Sadly the bird remained a little too distant to be able to get anything with the SLR, which is saying something really, as the bird was very close at times. The light was also quite poor, always being behind the bird and making it more difficult to get good photos of.
The bird itself was a rather stunning beast. Its possibly the best views I've ever had of any diver species, which really allowed me to get to grips with its plumage features. The lack of flank patch is the most obvious feature. From photos there did seem to be some white there, but in the field there was obviously nothing. The chin strap was also more marked than it had appeared in photos online. Both diagnostic features of this species.
It was a really nice day out. Additional yearticks included Siskin and Red-breasted Merganser. Sadly I diddnt have time to go to the coast and pick up any other species that have been linering around the area, but my pattern of work is such that it does allow me to get out birding like this and see this incredible rarities, so I can't complain.
Druridge Bay CP: Pacific Diver, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Song Thrush,