By Hillyblips

Northern Diver

What a treat to see this fairly rare bird on Pitville Lake in Cheltenham today. Having checked out my twitching site, getting the nod it had rocked up and with it being so close, I knew it was too good an opportunity to miss. Every lens for miles was being walked in the park too when we arrived but it didn't seem to be aware of the commotion.

They apparently arrive off-shore in August from the breeding grounds in Iceland as a winter visitor, to return home there in the spring. In N America they are called loons as they are clumsy on land, their legs being set back for diving, but they can fly at 75mph on their migration run.

A fairly solitary bird it is the largest and heaviest species of diver with a large head and blue/black bill being a specialist fish eater. Watching it swimming along it abruptly dives underwater; - you could track the bubbles for a little while but then it would emerge quite a way away! Amazingly it can dive to 60m which is deeper than I've been - both of us northern divers!

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