Great Northern Diver – 1894

Colymbus glacialis – A winter visitor.

The Great Northern Diver is a regular visitor in the winter to our bays from the north, and is sometimes numerous in Milford Haven. Adults, in full plumage, are rare.

Mr. Dix states that, after a severe gale, one was shot in Milford Haven, at the beginning of December, 1865. Sir Hugh Owen has shot the Great Northern Diver in Fishguard Bay. Immature birds are most frequently obtained. From its powers of diving, its rapid progress beneath the water, where it uses both wings and feet, it is difficult for a boat rowed by good oars to overtake the Great Northern Diver, and, as it can keep its body submerged, only showing its head and neck above the surface, sinking again in a second at the flash of the gun before the shot can reach it, its pursuit is not easy, and, as we have ourselves witnessed on several occasions, it succeeds in making its escape, or does not succumb until after a long chase.

The Great Northern Diver remains on the waters oft our coasts until the end of April; from the Tuskar Rock Lighthouse we have the report that the “Black Divers” disappear about May 1st, and are not seen again until the following October.

M Mathew, 1894, The Birds of Pembrokeshire and its islands.

More about the Great Northern Diver in Pembrokeshire