Saturday, 4 December 2010

Lesser Scaup

Late in the day I trudged the 1/2 mile up to the car in a horrible northerly with rain, feeling somewhat unsure why I was doing this. A stop at the PDC revealed no Jack Snipe, though a good few Common Snipe, darn! However, there was an interesting Iceland Gull on the ice which must be a 2nd Winter with a pretty much wholly dark bill.

At Ayre Loch I fairly quickly located the duck in question. The bird is reasonably approachable and whilst the light was half decent I got most of the required features. The bird even flapped a couple of times but unfortunately was facing me ... typical. This individual is a paler brown than Tufted, the plumage is fairly uniform, the white patches are not huge, equal to what is not uncommon on many juv Tufted. The head shape is pretty diagnostic and there is a dark nail but no apparent dark band on the bill. An interesting and challenging bird, thanks KH, glad you'd ided it first, I'd have needed troops to confirm it. The photos show a wonderful array of diagnostic features not.

At home (Shunan) huge numbers of Blackbirds around the garden and byre (16+) and two redpoll one of which showed the features of flammea (flight views only), so no doubt both were of this species(ish). 3 Robins, one or two Song Thrush, one of which was rescued from inside the house, a female Hen Harrier and a Sparrowhawk on a raid.


Nick Carter said...

We've got a Greater on Elland GP at the moment, not in the same league I know but not bad for Calderdale :)

Alastair said...

I've seen Greater there in the past, good bird inland. There are several hundred of those on nearby Loch of Harray but I've still not managed to get one on the "from the garden" list.