A rather odd looking Aythya duck on The Shunan has been bothering me for the last three weeks or so. It has generally been on its own or with a Goldeneye and has kept an awkward distance from the track. In the end I decided that a closer approach and maybe even a flushing was going to be the only way to resolve the issue. So yesterday morning having tried careful observation from the track and failed yet again to be certain about the bill pattern I snuck around by the field to the north and along the wall. Despite getting some much better views I still couldn't resolve the issue and the canny critter knew I was there too and retreated to the western corner with a couple of Mallard. In the end I flushed the Wigeon and Teal and the Aythya flew, showing a white wing bar all the way through the primaries, so Tufted or hybrid but not Lesser Scaup.
In both these photos the bird seems to be showing a bit of a tuft, the stiff breeze was blowing these feathers up.
Also yesterday a male Blackcap was a nice surprise on the stick apples around the feeders. Nine Fieldfare paid a brief visit too.
Today was still but wet. A late start due to a late finish yesterday when we went to the West Mainland Farmers' Ball and didn't return to the ranch until the early hours. Eight Whooper's on Loch of Bosquoy was a good start but there was little else there. The big surprise was the large Linnet flock that appeared in the garden, but not at the feeders early afternoon. I counted 65. This is unusual as this species is usually absent from this part of West Mainland through the winter.