Surely that’s got to scratch on the way down?

A few days ago I had my first experience of a Great Northern Diver. I was disappointed with my photograph of it on the water but thrilled to get a flypast:

This time I’m clambering down the rocks of Brixham breakwater to see if I can get somewhere near water level. It’s slippery and treacherous when the tide’s out. When I spot a Great Northern Diver disappear under the water I scramble to what I think will be a good spot to see it surface, hoping that it will be close by when it does.

I’m not disappointed.

Great Northern Diver - Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

What an incredible bird:

Great Northern Diver - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

This one isn’t in its stunning breeding plumage. I’ve never seen one in all its finery.

I’ve seen them diving for crabs in the harbour here. When they surfaced I realised they were pulling their crab apart to remove the legs until only the body remained. They would pull a leg off, dive their head underwater to retrieve the rest of the crab and then repeat. Once the carcass was devoid of legs they would swallow the body whole.

I spot it surface with a crab and take some shots. I’m expecting the same leg-pulling performance. This one, however, decides to ignore all health and safety and swallow this crab whole, legs and all. What follows is not for the squeamish or those with an over-active imagination:

Surely that’s got to scratch on the way down?

More from Brixham

Shag - Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Shag There's a perky looking Shag at Brixham. What an exceptional bird. That lemon-yellow gape and oil-black plumage is set-off by… read more
Great Northern Diver - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The adventures of Dick and Titty at Brixham breakwater There are long lenses galore at Brixham harbour. A flock of twitchers have arrived. They're perched at the end of… read more
Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Ruddy Turnstones Ruddy Turnstones. No, I'm not cursing, that's their name. There are several at Brixham Breakwater which I've come to enjoy… read more
Dog in the water - Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Hermes Back in Brixham, looking for Great Northern Divers, I see a large shape out to sea. I look closely with… read more
Diver - Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Brixham diver I've decided to have a trip out to Brixham in South Devon. Yes, again. It's a beautiful town, with fishing… read more
Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Dolphins and a Great Northern Diver I'm at Brixham in South Devon again, looking out to see. It helps that I've met a couple of great… read more
Rock Pipit - Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Rock Pipits on breakwater beach This is the view from Brixham's Breakwater Beach on a pleasant day. There's the insistent calling and elegant undulating flight… read more
Turnstone at Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Ruddy Turnstone portraits After the shock of getting so close to Ruddy Turnstones I decided to try some portrait photography. Here's my first… read more
Turnstone at Brixham - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Ruddy Turnstones at Brixham breakwater #3 I've been enjoying filming the Ruddy Turnstones in Brixham. I hope these tiny films have given you some insight into… read more

Feel free to leave a Reply :)