Saturday, 21 January 2017

PACIFIC DIVER at Chevington!!

After a very tense wait yesterday evening we set out before first light to head to Chevington. Once we arrived it was quite misty, but before long we were able to pick out the first-winter PACIFIC DIVER swimming around at the north end. The scope views we really good from the L-shaped hide. It wasn't the most obvious bird so I've decided to discuss a few of the ID points below....

Other birds around the reserve included 10 Scaup, the 7 Shore Lark and around 70 Twite.

Head shape and jizz
I felt that the head shape varied a lot with what the bird was doing, just after surfacing or in a period of more frantic feeding the head shape looked more like a Black-throated, but most of the time when the bird was preening or relaxed it looked much more rounded, exactly like I would expect from a Pacific. Over the hour or so we watched the bird this morning it did feel slightly 'different' to me - smaller than what I would expect from a BTD (being not much larger than some of the ducks), with a slightly thicker neck and, most of the time, a slightly rounder head. The bill also looked smaller and this was perhaps the most obvious difference.

To us the nape looked a paler grey than on BTD and made it seem almost velvety, which along with the slightly thicker neck and rounder head gave it a more gentle look.

Chin strap
While watching the bird from the hide we did think that the bird showed a faint chinstripe, but later photos taken a the country park seemed to show it was extremely indistinct if present at all.

Vent strap
Very easy to see when in flight or preening.

Flank patch
No white flank patch whatsoever!

I'm definitely no expert on Pacific Divers (having never seen one before!), but despite photos from DBCP showing a more BTD head shape, I'm still convinced that it is a Pacific Diver. A big well done to the guys who flagged it up in the first place! Martin Garner's Frontiers in Birding had a great article on the ID of these two divers.

Looking a bit chunky just after surfacing.

Pacific Diver

Shore Larks




  1. Great blog post & photo's , really quite tempted to head up there (just 6 hour drive putting me have seen one before but not views like that !!

    1. Thanks Rob, would recommened this one, especially with the views we had today at the country park - 4 metres away!!