Sunday, 3 January 2010

Aberystwyth New Year Bottles!

Hello again Cliff and Happy New Year, My latest sighting from New Quay: New Year's Day 14.00, 4 Bottlenose approached the North side of New Quay harbour from the West. They swam past my location as far as the Cardinal buoy and then turned back West. As they turned they seemed to hit upon some fish because they started making fast runs and lunges in the water, and as they came closer (300 metres) I could see that they were flipping fish out of the water. I could also see that the original 4 were now 7. Two of the animals appeared to be much larger than the others and both had distinctive white markings on their dorsal fins. They were in view for approx. 45 minutes. I also saw approx. 10 birds (individually), about the size and shape of a cormorant and similar in flight, flying low above the water, white neck, which was quite long, white body including under wings, but dark on top. Definitely not a gull. I'm not very good with birds - any ideas ? All the best David Cunniffe

Hi Dave, Happy New Year to you and all W in W blog readers and contributors!
Another great sighting of what appears to have been two mothers and calves?
Your birds (as you say) are definately not gulls. Immature Cormarants have pale undersides but so do winter plumaged Divers. The give away with Divers is that their legs and feet also stick out well beyond the tail. My money would be on these, but identifying different species of Diver in Winter plumage is tricky. The smallest and probably commonest are Red Throated, which have a distinctive upturn to the bill if seen well enough . Black Throated (rarest) tend to have a dagger bill and noticably large white flanks. Great Northerns are bigger have a remenant collar and socking great feet, but its all a bit academic unless they are close and you have a really good view.
Hope this helps, allthingsgood Cliff