Thursday, 20 February 2014

Pacific Diver in Northern Ireland

Twitchers were in a flap after this rare bird was spotted in one of Northern Ireland’s remote locations.  It was called a Pacific Loon or Diver and it was thousands of miles from its usual home.  Jack Brennan, reported in the Belfast Telegraph, that seeing this bird was the equivalent of “Seeing Elvis walking around Belfast’s City centre”.


I am not a twitcher but a bird watcher and so I did not go to see this bird however many hundreds did including Martin McClenaghan, who was one of the party that went to Scotland with us, so it is thanks to him for supplying these photographs for you all to see.


In fact, this Diver is rarely seen away from its native lands along the Pacific coast of America and only migrates for 3 months of the year to the inner Arctic Lakes in the summer so it was a bit of a mystery why it turned up in the waters of Lough Fea, perched high in the picturesque Sperrin mountains between Counties Tyrone and Derry/Londonderry.  It can only be assumed that the stormy weather that crossed the Atlantic battering our shores brought the Diver with it.


A lady who was visiting from Scotland first spotted the bird, and although she did not know what the bird was, she managed to take a very good photograph and had it identified by an expert birder.


The Pacific Loon walks extremely awkwardly on land, and cannot take flight from land at all. It requires about 30-50 meters of open water to take flight, flapping and pattering across the surface.  Below are a few facts about this bird.

Food - Fish and aquatic invertebrates.  Dives after prey, tracking it visually, and seizing it with bill.

Nest may be a simple depression in the ground with scant lining or a large, solid, well-formed bowl of grasses and aquatic plants, located immediately adjacent to water.

Clutch Size  1–2 eggs
Egg Description - Variable shades of buff, brown, and olive-green.
Condition at Hatching - Downy and active; leaves nest within one or two days.


I hope you enjoyed seeing this rarity we had for a few weeks in the Province.  Once again thank you Martin for allowing me to edit and show your photographs.


Thank you for visiting and also for leaving comments on any of my blogs.

19 comments:

  1. How exciting! Lovely pictures. CT :-)

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  2. I would much, much rather see this stunning bird than Elvis.

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    1. HI EC Well your comment made me laugh so thanks for that. I have to agree with you although I really don't think it is likely that you WILL see Elvis!!!

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  3. The Loon is a cool bird, I love seeing them! Great shots, Margaret!

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  4. I think I can feel the excitement from here! Its a nice bird - and still would be if it was not rare!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  5. how wonderful for people to have sited this rare sea-bird; thanks for sharing I agree

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  6. This is my all time favourite bird, we'd wake to their call many a mornings, what will happen to him or her now?

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  7. Heard about this, wonder if it came over from Japan............

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  8. it's a beauty to see, no matter where.

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  9. I know how birders will drive for miles to see these guys! ;) We had one near here last fall. ;))

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  10. He certainly is far from home since his territory is, in fact, the Pacific coast. though they say that they go as far east as the Northeast coast of Canada.. Makes me a little sad that he is separated from his kind. Hopefully he will find his way back. We occassionally get birds on our lake that have clearly been blown off course during their migration and they too are rare sightings, as you put it. It is wonderful to be able to see them and thank you for sharing this beautiful rare bird with us.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  11. Wow wow wow, you and the others were excited, very well done, and the photos, wow.

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  12. Quite an amazing bird, and your shots are just wonderful!!! Very interesting how this bird is unable to take off from the ground. I am just in the process of another blog post on my little birding adventure, and have to wonder if this might also be true of the bird that I am posting. Hope your week is great.

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  13. It is interesting to see these rarities so far from their normal range.

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  14. An exciting discovery. I have never seen any pictures of this bird before and I would like to thank your friend for being generous enough to let you share them.

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  15. Many thanks Martin, what a cutie!!

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  16. How awesome to see this stranger to your shores!

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  17. That's quite a find! We had one show up in Tucson 2 years ago and it caused quite a stir here. I cannot imagine the stir it caused there!

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