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Monday, 28 October 2013

White-billed Diver, Sandy Bay

White-billed Diver, Sandy Bay, 28th October 2013 (Michael O'Clery).

The third record for Kerry, following an adult at Brandon Point on 4th October 1996 and an adult at Cromane from 26th March to 4th April 2011.

Aging the bird precisely is tricky. Although the bird is not a juvenile – lacking the fine pale edges to the coverts on the back – it might well be a second calendar year bird, ie, born in summer 2012. Through the telescope, fine white spots towards the rear flanks and rump were seen, though it wasn't quite possible to discern if these were also on the wing coverts. If on the wing coverts, the bird is an adult, but if only on the rump and flanks, it is either an adult or a second year bird. Killian Mullarney also commented, "...I wonder if its advanced 'winter-type' plumage so relatively early in the season might in itself be indicative of a second winter as, if W-b Diver is like Great Northern, the great majority of adults at the end of October will still be largely in breeding plumage".