Since last August a White Billed Diver has been in Mousa bay, just a few minutes away from home. I have seen it a few times but it has been very distant and the weather dull. Last Sunday the weather couldn't have been more perfect, sunny and still (yes no wind)
White Billed Diver
Earlier in the day it had been seen under the large layby at the top end of Sandwick but by the time we arrived, about 1pm I located it further south, just north of Mousa and about mid way between the island and Sandsayre.
When it dived I was surprised how far it moved and how long it dived for, White Bills prefer the deeper waters unlike the Gt Northern Diver which come closer inshore.
The first record for Scotland was a dead bird at Whiteness Voe, Shetland 21 January 1946, but the first live bird was in June 1947 when a bird came close inshore at Weisdale Voe, Shetland.(Scott and Shaw). Most birds occur on spring passage with a few over wintering.
These birds may well be from the eastern Russian population, with birds usually wintering off the Norwegian coast
The Mousa Sound bird is one of two / three present in Shetland with another regularly seen at Kirkabister and in Bluemull sound. Birds tend to start to gather at Skogsoy Norway late April so it will be interesting to see how late this bird stays in Shetland.
Throughout the following week I managed another three visit but failed to see the bird. Two other local birders who have spent a lot of time watching have also only seen it occasionally. Whether the bird moves out of the area or just goes to the east of Mousa is a mystery.
Today no sign of the bird again even though the sea was calm
Gt Northern Diver
Long Tailed Duck
Other birds at Sandsayre :
White Billed Diver, Gt Northern Diver, Red Throated Diver, Long Tailed Duck (46) Eider (58) Goldeneye (M& F) ,Shag (28+) Fulmar, Black Guillemot (32) Red Breasted Merganser (3) Common Scoter, Purple Sandpiper (38) Turnstone (22) Oystercatcher (2), Redshank (8) Curlew (4) Greylag (6) Rock Pipit, Starling, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Wren, Twite
Elsewhere the Pied Billed grebe is still at Spiggie, Glaucous Gulls(4) Lerwick, Blue and Gt Tit Hillwell