My early morning walk around the marsh and tidal lagoon at Ria de Alvor was very pleasant this morning although despite bright sunshine it is horrendously cold for this time of year and I was in full "winter kit". The temperatures are about 10℃ below what they should be.
Discovering a nesting pair of Stone Curlew close to my house was a nice surprise, and seeing the first Black-winged Stilt chicks (must have hatched last night or this morning) is always a delight.
Waders are here in abundance and rather later than normal, presumably held back by the icy cold northerly winds. Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Red Knot in full breeding plumage look splendiferous.
The highlight of the morning was finding a Great Northern Diver (refuse to call them "Loons") feeding in the tidal lagoon. It was close inshore and successfully catching fish. The tide was receding and by the time I had got home and returned with the camera it had moved further away into deeper water. This heavily-cropped record shot was at a distance of about 250 metres:
My impression (from the earlier closer views through bins) is that this is a 2nd c.y. sub-adult. Any comments about the age of the bird from those more familiar with the species would be much appreciated. This is a rarity in Portugal and now completes the "hat-trick" as I have also had Red and Black-throated Divers this spring.