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Mon 4th January 2010

Posted on January 4, 2010 at 10:20 PM

birds : Well the new decade has started with a huge bang - and not just one but two massive shocks to the system! It started pretty quietly with a Marsh Harrier over the house on New Year's Day a surprising first raptor of the year. Then we had a couple of family walks noting a Whimbrel wintering at the usual site a Pezeries. The first day back at school today and I went round year-ticking at lunchtime and on the way home, I called in at Grandes Havres to look for the 2 Great Northern and one Black-throated Diver people had seen there recently. It was very low tide so I looked from Les Ammareurs and quickly 'scoped the two Great Northerns feeding in the channel and they were showing well.

After a while the Black-throated appeared with them and things didn't quite look right.

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Firstly, the bird seemed tiny compared to the other two - there is not usually that much difference between the two species - and the bird itself looked small and delicate, especially round the bill. And then I noticed how dark it looked and, more importantly, I couldn't see any white rear flank patch at all. I started to actually believe that the bird could maybe be a PACIFIC DIVER ! Looking at the clock, I had to dash off to collect Anais from school before I could study it any more and I snapped a couple of record shots.

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Pacific Diver . . . . . yes, I said PACIFIC !!!!

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When I went online in the evening I sent out an email for the local birders to have a good look at this bird, and then I saw Paul Hillion's fabulous photo on the Guernsey Birds website. This confirmed that the bird is dark brown on the rear flanks and would therefore seem to be a Pacific Diver, and the other ID features seem to fit, although it seems to lack an obvious throat strap. If it turns out to be true then this is a mega. Only 3 previous accepted records for Britain as far as I can remember. Input from other people on the internet so far is very positive and I think this is gonna be a Pacific!

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This is most likely the bird that I saw on Wednesday 16th December. If you read the post for the day after, I said I thought that I had a Black-throated Diver but it was too distant to be certain. I remember that the bird appeared very small with an uptilted bill - very like this bird - I even considered Red-throated at the time. Also, at the time, I finally decided that it was probably not a Black-throated because I didn't notice a pale flank patch, which makes sense now!

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nonsense : The other major "bang" of the new year was the incredible victory of the mighty Leeds United against the Red Filth at Old Trafford in the FA Cup! We scored early on and I just assumed that Man U would get a goal back as they always do, and it wasn't  until about 86 minutes that I suddenly thought that we might do it! And so the final few minutes became squeaky-bum time. Such a glorious day for all the long-suffering Leeds fans. Get in!!!!!

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Red Filth 0 Super Whites 1

Categories: Self-found Rarities, 2009-2010 Winter