Monday, 12 September 2011
Good News / Sad News
The good news was that last week a summer plumaged Red Throated Diver had turned up on the Marine Lake at Fleetwood and was giving excellent views. Mike and I were having a day's birding on the Friday and couldn't decide whether to go for the RTD at Fleetwood or travel up to Heysham where a Sabine's Gull was also showing well.Just before we set off I had a phone call from Paul Foster who was at Fleetwood watching the diver at very close range. So it was, an hour later, we arrived at the Marine Lake and could immediately see the diver showing close to the side of the lake. The light was not good following some persistent drizzle but it slowly improved throughout our stay and we had some excellent views of the bird.
The news had spread via the internet and a good number of local birdwatchers and photographers came to see the bird. At one point the diver disappeared and we all thought it had flown out to sea. As Mike and I were thinking of moving on it reappeared and once again gave wonderful close up views as it patrolled around the lake. It seemed unconcerned by all the attention and due to the way it was behaving gave some cause for concern. It drifted about lazily with it's eyes closed for much of the time and was inactive and didn't once dive to search for any fish that may have been about unlike the cormorants that were also present which would occasionaly catch flounders . I managed a nice shot of a cormorant with a flounder which is shown above.
Mike and I decided to move on and our next port of call was the estuary of the River Wyre at Skippool Creek. Here the tide was going out and waders were coming to feed on the exposed mud . There was a nice little group of waders present in one of the creeks containing a couple of greenshanks which I managed to photograph as they fed in the now pleasant afternoon sunshine. With this improvement in the light we decided to return to Fleetwood to see the diver again. More photographers were present and the diver was posing very close to the side and at times was almost too near for the camera to focus. Again some wonderful images were obtained in the much better conditions which showed off it's wonderful plumage to full advantage. The unusual behaviour of the bird continued as it scrambled out of the lake and onto the concrete surround and sat down to enjoy the pleasant late sunshine. With this we decided to call it a day and head for home after a super day out.
Now for the sad news...As suspected the diver was not well and I learned yesterday evening that it had been found dead on the Sunday following our visit on the Friday . This was indeed very sad news as although not feeding the bird appeared to be mobile and from time to time it would flap its wings which also seemed undamaged. It had however in it's last days provided some wonderful memories and images for those lucky enough to be in it's presence at Fleetwood's Marine Lake. As usual I have shown above some images of this fabulous bird and some of the action from around the lake on a day that will long remain in the memory.