It's the age-old story; you wait for one Great Northern Diver to come along, and then 122 turn up! Such was the case for our volunteer surveyor, Robin Langdon, on his recent Heysham to Belfast crossing.
Great Northern Divers, Gavia immer, (aka, Common Loons in the US) occur around most of the British coast between September and April, with the only area of the UK not getting them being the far south-east of England. Generally, single animals, or 'small' groups are sighted. Something that our previous surveys can vouch for, with this species being spotted sparingly along our routes.
The birds that come to our coast are overwintering animals, and around April/May time, most of them will head off to their breeding colonies; the closest breeding sites to the UK being in Iceland. However, a few birds will remain around Ireland and Scotland during the summer, so despite the advancing year, there may still be chances to spot them. Though certainly not in the numbers Robin was fortunate to see!
Great Northern Diver Photo: Steve McAusland