Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Chatham Diver !

Its getting to be a regular occurrence with Great Northern Divers appearing at Chatham Maritime, always on number Two Basin which is obviously to their liking, usally appearing early December and staying until late January.

A quick check of the Kent records for this site shows the following appearances :-

 9th December 2010 to 23rd January 2011.
 6th December 2015 to 30th January 2016.
 7th  January 2018  and  still on site  16th January 2018.

These have all been Juveniles. the photograph below is of the latest Juvenile seen  by me on the 16th January.

Annoyingly the Divers always seem to be in the middle of the Basin, and these are quite large expanses of water, today their was an eye-watering wind blowing across the basin which made viewing very difficult,  always too distant for my camera, but surprisingly, some reasonable images, even with a shaking hand.

Juvenile  Great Northern Diver at Chatham Maritime  Basin 2
 The photograph below shows the 'scaly' effect of the first winter plumage on the back,
 apparently indicating a juvenile.

The steep forehead, whitish eye ring and half collar diagnostic features of the Great Northern Diver shows well on the photograph below.

These Divers have dark red eyes, although not clearly shown here which helps them see underwater, they have a habit of dipping their head under the surface, searching for fish which they chase down, being very powerful swimmers, they can eat these fish underwater although some of the larger fish caught are brought to the surface, I have seen many photographs of these divers eating Crabs which they must also be rather partial to.

These Divers will be returning to their Icelandic breeding grounds soon, around April time, so its nice to catch up with them when they do visit these inland waters.

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