Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Great Northern Diver....

....and a couple of sketches from a book I required recently from a second hand bookseller who has some excellent publications for sale from time to time. This one is about C.F.Tunnicliffe, a man born 110 years ago at Langley, Cheshire in 1901 and who devoted a lifetime to his art in etching, engraving, and water colours mainly in natural history subjects.

Spotted Flycatcher. C.F.Tunnicliffe R.A.

In both these sketches Tunnicliffe manages to remind me of the halcyon days of summer now on their way around the corner from winter. A brilliant sketch of the Spotted Flycatcher with two begging young.


Pied Flycatcher. C.F. Tunnicliffe R.A.

The other 'flycatcher' favourite of mine, the Pied Flycatcher.....coming soon - well in about 13/14 weeks - to a woodland near you!

A juvenile Great Northern Diver (GND) has been present in the Fleetwood area for 'some weeks' now and is currently at Fleetwood Docks in the Fish Dock. This is an exceptional record not only because of the length of time it is staying around, but also as a rare - and by no means annual - visitor to our area mainly offshore, though they do occur occasionally at inland reservoirs. 

Although the only European breeding of GND occurs in Iceland where there is an estimated 300 pairs, it has been held by some as a potential breeding bird in GB for many years, but a record review of claimed breeders in Scotland found not one to be completely satisfactory. The W.Isles and western coasts of GB are of international importance as wintering grounds for the GND, Scapa Flow has the distinction of holding the highest winter total of 780 in March 1999, and the waters off GB hold an estimated wintering population of 3,500-4,500 individuals thought to originate from Iceland and Greenland. But the GND is notorious for remaining offshore during the winter months, although they do come closer inshore to sheltered bays and harbours during periods of harsh weather which is perhaps what the Fleetwood bird has done, though it lingers too. 


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