I had such a wonderful time last winter going to see Great Northern Divers in Brixham in Devon.
I was able to see them diving for crabs and plucking the crabs’ legs off or just swallowing them whole.
They were in their non-breeding plumage. I’ve never seen one in full beautiful breeding plumage. This summer, on Westray in Orkney, the message comes through that there’s been one in the bay in Pierowall for the last few days. I’m excited as we go down there and finally spot it:
There are concerns that it’s injured as it’s flapping its wings a lot and scratching with its leg in a strange position. I’m pretty sure that it must be sheltering and moulting after breeding. It looks as if it’s got so many primary wing feathers missing it won’t be flying for a while. It’s simply seeking shelter here while it changes for winter.
It’s still spectacular.
I’m walking out into the bay on the slippery rocks in my walking boots and kneeling in rock pools to get a little closer to it.
I’m hoping that there’ll be a point at which it’s in a beautiful position, is close and that the clouds will part briefly so I can see just how bright that red eye is:
What an astonishing bird. I wonder where it’ll be this winter? I hope to be seeing its like in Devon later in the year.