Champions of the Flyway!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Bananarama! White-billed Diver, Filey, 9th March 2021

Well, that was a nice surprise. After a zoom meeting with Jonathan (Meyrav, rubbing it in with tales of full-tilt spring migration in Israel presently) I headed up onto the North Cliff here in Filey to retrieve my #nocmig sound recorder. A side effect of running the recorder up there is the compulsion to have a quick look around while I'm up there, and this morning, with a relatively light wind, I though I'd wander up onto the clifftop and scan the sea.....
... which was emphatically the right decision to make. The first bird I locked onto was a large diver - with an apparently large, pale bill?! Or was it a trick of the light, or holding a pale fish, or was it an aberrant pale-billed Great Northern? Initially just on the edge of IDable binocular range as pictured above (and how it could've ended, badly, there), I put it out as a possible, and prayed. On this occasion the gods were open for business and clearly in benevolent mood, as the bird came subtantially closer, and gave me lovely views for a good 15 minutes....
.... which is where I should reiterate, and appreciate, my good fortune. For all the times it goes the other way (I usually pick up the recorder earlier, I often go in a different direction, the bird could've been underwater when I scanned, it could've not come closer inshore, etc etc), this time it all played out perfectly; and it's only the second White-billed Diver I've seen here (after finding a fly-by, later clocked at Flamborough, a good nine years ago).
On that occasion, I couldn't believe my luck, seeing four species of diver in 45 minutes. This morning? Four species in 15. Hallelujah.
(Not many of these in Israel at the moment, eh J? ;-)