Friday, 26 February 2016
GND at Salford Quays Revisited
I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at Salford Quays this afternoon in the company of the long-staying Great Northern Diver in Ontario Basin where the bird seems to spend the majority of its time. My previous visit to see this bird was just before Christmas when I posted here.
On arriving it didn't take me long to locate the bird which was by the white buoy in the middle of the basin, and this seems to be a place to which it often returns to sleep if not roost. It didn't seem particularly phased by my presence at any time and indeed must be used to the hoards of birding paparazzi all desperate to get a photo. Today however, I was the only one there and so for around two hours I had him all to myself.
I soon got used to its routine of preening in the middle of the basin and then diving for what seemed to be at least a minute or more before reappearing 30 metres away near the entrance to the Mariner's Canal (see Google Maps). It would then dive and swim along the northerly basin edge towards the Trafford Road end before ending up back in the middle. Today it did this routine at least three times and I found myself walking backwards and forwards around the basin trying to get the light for a decent photo without disturbing the bird. Unfortunately I didn't see it catch a fish.
On a couple of occasions it dived and swam to one end of the basin and then took me completely by surprise by flying the full length to the other end, as if it were doing training flights. I eventually left it sleeping, or at least dozing, back at the white buoy as I headed back to the car park.
Photographs weren't easy most of the time due to the ever changing light conditions and reflections and it's hard not to burn out the white breast and belly feathers while getting the detail in the bird's magnificent red eye. But I'm happy with what I got today and enjoyed just sitting down and viewing the bird through my bins as well as taking the photographs.