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TITLE
Diver birds at Broad Bay, Lewis
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_PETERCUNNINGHAM_08
PLACENAME
Stornoway
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Stornoway
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Peter Cunningham
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2160
KEYWORDS
ornithology
bird watching
audio

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In this audio extract, Hebridean ornithologist, Peter Cunningham, talks to Bill Sinclair about the different species of diver birds to be seen at Broad Bay, near Stornoway.

Interviewer: On the way out we passed along a causeway, perhaps near the entrance to the airport actually, and looking out to sea there, we're very fortunate in seeing two of the - well let's say three species of diver. But, is this quite a usual thing to see?

Yes, for most months of the year you will see divers fishing in the sea; black throat and red throat normally, but in spring and autumn the great northern divers join and it's quite common to see all three species in the sea. Red throats and the black throats will be leaving for the nesting lochs very shortly and we'll see less of them.

Interviewer: Now, from the distance, looking out to see at divers, how can you really tell, you know, when they're a bit out to sea, the difference between the three species?

Yes, I think the red throat is fairly easy to pick out, even at a distance and in silhouette, because its tip-tilted beak, the beak tends to be a little elevated in the air, whereas the black throat beak is more or less horizontal, and the white patch on the wings covers of the black throated diver is also very conspicuous, even at a distance. The great northern is a bigger bird and a much heavier bird, and a thick neck and a heavy beak is usually diagnostic, even at a great range too. So they're really quite easily told apart. The other species that tends to be confused with them sometimes is the shag which is even commoner, but they've got thin, snake-like, reptilian necks which make them quite diff-, quite easy to distinguish too

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Diver birds at Broad Bay, Lewis

ROSS: Stornoway

1980s; 1990s

ornithology; bird watching; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Bird Watching

In this audio extract, Hebridean ornithologist, Peter Cunningham, talks to Bill Sinclair about the different species of diver birds to be seen at Broad Bay, near Stornoway.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: On the way out we passed along a causeway, perhaps near the entrance to the airport actually, and looking out to sea there, we're very fortunate in seeing two of the - well let's say three species of diver. But, is this quite a usual thing to see?<br /> <br /> Yes, for most months of the year you will see divers fishing in the sea; black throat and red throat normally, but in spring and autumn the great northern divers join and it's quite common to see all three species in the sea. Red throats and the black throats will be leaving for the nesting lochs very shortly and we'll see less of them.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now, from the distance, looking out to see at divers, how can you really tell, you know, when they're a bit out to sea, the difference between the three species?<br /> <br /> Yes, I think the red throat is fairly easy to pick out, even at a distance and in silhouette, because its tip-tilted beak, the beak tends to be a little elevated in the air, whereas the black throat beak is more or less horizontal, and the white patch on the wings covers of the black throated diver is also very conspicuous, even at a distance. The great northern is a bigger bird and a much heavier bird, and a thick neck and a heavy beak is usually diagnostic, even at a great range too. So they're really quite easily told apart. The other species that tends to be confused with them sometimes is the shag which is even commoner, but they've got thin, snake-like, reptilian necks which make them quite diff-, quite easy to distinguish too