Sunday 22 December 2013


I spent fifty minutes, from first light, seawatching from the raised beach huts just beyond the lifeboat station. Birds seen were 3 red-breasted merganser, 2 female eider, 14+ gannet, 12+ auk sp, 14 red-throated diver (all west), 15+ kittiwake, 1 great northern diver and 3 diver sp. I notice the Warren has been getting a single eider from time to time so I reckon these are different birds as they seem 'joined at the hip' every time I've seen them. Both were present yesterday too.

                               sketches of red-throated divers

                                            the long-staying female eiders

Divers are one of those groups that I sometimes find perplexing. Great northern and black-throated can be difficult in flight, especially when seen distantly or briefly. I find red-throats relatively straightforward as they habitually raise and lower their heads and they always look skinny. However a diver species this morning (great northern or black- throated) raised its head too but nowhere near the height of a red-throat. I find high-flying great northerns in the spring quite easy, their sheer bulk giving them a goose-like quality. Black-throats are the rarest of the three in Devon so I don't often get the opportunity to study and sketch them. As with any bird a lot rides on the quality and length of views.


  1. Matt, I saw the two Eider on Tuesday, off Foxholes Hill and they were, as you say, 'joined at the hip'. Also, I had a female Velvet Scoter on the sea just off Orcombe Point that day. One of the Warren birds?

  2. Thanks Terry - would like to have seen the velvet scoter - haven't had one off Exmouth for quite some time.