| Western Isles of Scotland
Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver
(Great Northern Loon, Big Loon, Common Loon, Black-billed Loon, Call-up-a-storm, Imber Diver, Ring-necked Loon, Walloon, Ember-goose, Greenhead, Guinea Duck)
Photograph © Carl Chapman
Luskentyre - Isle of Harris - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
April 27th, 2007
"Photographed a Diver today which I've been watching distantly and briefly all week from Luskentyre beach. The bill looked all white in bright sunshine and appeared 'good' for White billed Diver - but something just wasn't quite right. I eventually got good views today further around the headland which clearly shows dark on the Culmen (the upper edge of the top mandible) and the cutting edges - so it's a Great Northern - maybe next time!"
Our Great Northern Diver photographs
- Great Northern Diver
- Gavia immer
- UK: Scarce breeder, winter visitor. Arrives UK August - leave to breed April - May
- UK: 3000 in winter BTO
- WI: Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers but of international importance) and winter visitor (occurs in small numbers, but of national importance)
- Breeds: Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, North Scotland, North America, Canada
- Winters: North Europe, UK, North America
- Habitat: Lakes, ponds & rivers
- Usually solitary, large: average 32 inches long, wingspan of 54 inches, weighs 9lbs (81cm : 136cm : 4.1kg) Breeding adults: black head, white below, checked black & white mantle, sexes similar
Non-breeding brownish, white chin, foreneck, bill is grey- whitish held horizontal
- Diet: Mostly fish, crustaceans amphibians. Fishes underwater to 200 feet (60m) immer means submerge
- Similar birds: Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, White-billed Diver
One of the names of the bird is "call-up-a-storm" the call was supposed to presage rain!
Great Northern Diver records in the Western Isles
Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers but of international importance) and winter visitor (occurs in small numbers, but of national importance)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)
In April and May numbers of Great Northern Diver gather together ready to begin their return trip to Greenland and Iceland. Many will be in breeding plumage. The usual gathering sites are Broadbay (near Stornoway) and the Sounds of Harris, Taransay and Barra. Single birds may be seen offshore during most months.
Small numbers of returning failed breeders and immatures may be seen offshore here as early as August, but the birds usually leave their Northern breeding sites in September and October arriving here in October and November.
On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the bird is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.
(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
Other local bird photographs
Sources of information for the bird sightings section
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