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Great Northern Divers - ?breeding here

Buz TC

New Member
Today - six Great Northern Divers in Loch Roag just off Tolstachaolais slipway. At least three in rich adult summer plumage, the others juvenile. I’m not aware of seeing adults in summer plumage in Lewis before (perhaps I’ve not been attentive enough). I assumed they’d have departed for North America by now to breed. Do they migrate once in breeding colours or are they likely now to breed here? Can anyone share better knowledge on this? Thank you.
 

YvonneB

OH Bird Recorder
Hi there @Buz TC and thank you for your question about Great Northern Divers. I believe full adult plumage birds are seen regularly here on passage. The status of the birds here in the islands is fairly common on passage/in winter (Rabbitts 2016). The nearest regular breeding population of Great Northern Divers is in Iceland (Wernham et al 2002). Some of the birds seen here on passage may also be heading to Greenland and possibly Canada. Small numbers of non-breeding birds (often immature birds) remain in summer. Breeding has occurred in Scotland on a very small number of occasions according to Hunter 1970, Hunter & Dennis 1972 and Batten et al 1990. Though not as far as I know here on the islands. Hope this helps!

References:-

Rabbitts, B. (ed). 2016. Outer Hebrides Bird Report 2014-16. Outer Hebrides Birds.
Wernham, C. V., Toms, M. p>, Matchant J. H., Clark, J.A., Siriwardena, G. M. & Baillie, S. R. (eds). 2002. The Migration Atlas: movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland. T. & A. D. Poyser, London.
Hunter, E.N. 1970. Great Northern Diver breeding in Scotland. Scottish Birds 6: 195
Hunter E. N. & R. H. Dennis. 1972. Hybrid Great Northern Diver x Black-throated Diver in Wester Ross . Scottish Birds 7: 89-91
Batten, L. A., C. J. Bibby, P. Clement, G. D. Elliot & R. F. Porter. 1990. Red Data Birds in Britain. T. & A. D. Poyser, London
 

Buz TC

New Member
Thank you Yvonne for your generous reply. Most informative and appreciated. I’ll keep a better watch in future years - they are the most glorious of birds in summer feathers.
Buz
PS - heard our first cuckoo yesterday. Is anybody keeping a note?
 

YvonneB

OH Bird Recorder
Thank you Yvonne for your generous reply. Most informative and appreciated. I’ll keep a better watch in future years - they are the most glorious of birds in summer feathers.
Buz

No problem at all! They certainly are very smart birds in full summer plumage!

PS - heard our first cuckoo yesterday. Is anybody keeping a note?

Thank you for that, yes the record will be popped into the county records, on BirdTrack, on your behalf :)
 
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