Grutness man Andy pleased to discover a first for Scotland

The Pacific diver off Grutness. Photo: Roger Riddington
The Pacific diver off Grutness. Photo: Roger Riddington

A Grutness resident made an exciting ornithological discovery earlier this month, when he found the first Pacific diver ever to be seen in Scotland.

Andy Flaws was justifiably pleased with himself when he saw what appeared to be a black-throated diver in summer plumage in the bay outside his house. This is a rare bird in Shetland with on average just one or two a year seen in the islands.

Andy mentioned the diver to Paul Harvey, of Shetland Biological Records Centre, who was birdwatching in the Grutness area at the time. Paul soon found the bird but noticed that a number of subtle features suggested it might be a much rarer species. Paul contacted Roger Riddington who, importantly, was able to secure some photographs of the individual.

Unfortunately the diver flew off strongly south just 15 minutes later, but the photographs do indeed confirm that the bird is the first Pacific diver ever to have been seen in Scotland.

Pacific divers breed in far-eastern Siberia and north-western North America where they are the ecological counterpart of the black-throated diver, which breeds across Europe and Asia. The species spends the winter off the Pacific coasts of North America and eastern Asia, as its name suggests, so this individual is some way from home.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.