Friday, 17 February 2017

Banana bill...

After being gripped off all week by photos and updates on the Lincolnshire White-billed Diver, early on the morning of the Sunday 29th January I was heading to the village of Kirkstead near Woodhall Spa to see this weirdly wonderful bird. The White-billed Diver or Yellow-billed Loon species which usually resides in pelagic deep waters but this individual had managed to find its way to a canal 20 miles inland in Lincolnshire. A mega odd record.





What makes this record even more strange is that the only other live WBD record for Lincolnshire was of an individual on the same stretch of the River Witham in 1996, 21 years ago, which unfortunately eat a fishing hook and succumbed. This bird looked in better condition however, and it was great to get another chance to see a confiding individual of this species up close after not being able to go for the 2013 bird at Brixham (although I still need Brunnich's Guillemot which was present in Dorset at the same time in 2013)...







Arriving on site and after a bit of a trek we had awesome views of this marvellous bird flaunting its bright white bill and regularly diving. After a bit of gongoozling here we walked back, and it was nice to catch up with a couple of birding friends here too. I also noted 9 Goosander on site; 3 on the canal south of Kirkstead and 6 which flew south along the canal between Kirksead and Stixwould (near to where the diver was showing).











Leaving here around 11am, we headed to nearby Kirby on Bain gravel pits (thanks Moysie for the directions) where a drake Ring-necked Duck and 1w Glaucous Gull were instantly on show (but on different pits). Combined with the general appearance and the rounded shape of the tail feathers, I think the Ring-necked Duck can be conclusively aged as an adult.



This was the third drake RND I'd seen in the past six weeks (after birds at Pitlochry and Dungeness) however I can't tire of watching them. On the opposite pit the Glauc was bossing it amongst a flock of Herrings but a quick scan through them revealed nothing else of interest. A 1w female Scaup also made an appearance on the same pit as the drake Ringo.





A successful day out and many thanks to David D-L for the lift.

Happy birding,
Max.

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