Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Black-throated Divers

Last Thursday, I paid a quick trip to Maridalen to see how things were after my week on Værøy and had a memorable encounter with Black-throated Divers. A single youngster and adult were showing at very close range and the despite the late date the youngster was begging for, and getting, food from the adult. The youngster is definitely old enough to be looking after itself but is maybe lazy and has a parent that doesn’t know how to say no….. but whatever the reason all the youngster needed to do was to swim up to the adult and peck it around the face and neck and the adult would dive looking for food. The vast majority of dives did not result in anything but I did see one small fish delivered to the youngster but it was a crayfish that provided the most entertainment. Crayfish are a preferred food item at Maridalsvannet but clearly the youngster didn’t quite know how to deal with it. It was delivered still alive by the adult and the youngster then worked hard to turn it around so that it could swallow it. It was dropped and retrieved a few times but then clearly started sinking and the adult had to dive and collect and deliver it again. Eventually the youngster managed to turn it around and swallow it but it is clearly a fish rather than shellfish type of guy.

Black-throated Divers (storlom) adult an youngster

the youngster could dive and looked healthy but spent its time pushing mum/dad to provide for it (nothing familiar with that scenario...) 

the youngster has a very obvious line across the throat which according to the lieterature is a feature of Pacific Diver - looks like the reliability of that feature may have to be reappraised 

here it is nibbling the neck of the parent which prompted the parent to dive for food

more nibbling

more like biting here 
the tiny fish and some water weed being delivered

this crayfish was the main course though 
the youngster didn't seem too comfortable with this food item

it spent a lot of time trying to turn it into position to swallow it and also dropped it many times 

it looked like maybe it was trying to kill it by hitting it against the water

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