I travelled upto Lough Fea in Co. Tyrone yesterday to look for the pacific diver found recently. First to arrive, we enjoyed fantastic views early on before it became a little distant as more birders arrived. Later in the morning it was showing really well again on the western shore line with the strong sun behind it.
The throat strap was very distinct and the flanks were usually all dark, but as it relaxed it often showed long white 'tufts' along the flanks. The bill was also a little longer than I was expecting for a pacific but certainly not out of range for one.
I found the mantle feathers difficult to note, every shift in position and the four seasons of weather we experienced changed their appearance. They were quite plain with a subtle paler tip/fringe, clearly adult type. At times white spots on the coverts could be seen as the scaps were lifted while it preened.
A few illustrations of the bird today using photos and sketches.
Nice obvious throat strap, very distinct from all angles and lights. Much easier to make out than on the distant bird at Doorus pier in Co. Clare in 2010.
The vent strap was visible at times as it preened, but never seemed to be complete, it was definately thinner in the centre broadening out to the thighs.
Finished the day off at Giles' quay near Dundalk with 16 twite showing down to a few feet for over an hour by the pier. Some of the best views I have ever had and hopefully I will get up there again next week.