Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Common Scoter

Three female-type Common Scoter were found at Ferry Meadows on Monday and spent the day on Overton Lake. I decided to take a look early this morning but found no sign of the birds. However Ferry Meadows is an excellent site for birds and I had already seen a few Siskin, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Grey Wagtail before getting far from the car. Then I noticed an adult Bewick's Swan cruising across the lake - quite a good bird for Ferry Meadows.

The real surprise came though when I noticed a flock of ducks flying in from the west. A quick look with the bins revealled eight Common Scoter. I followed them closely looking for any signs of white in the wings (indicating Velvet Scoter)! they circled Overton Lake then headed back and appeared to land on Gunwade Lake. I made my way around there and sure enough there they were, all eight including a spanking adult male (a very rare sight in this area). Unfortunately it was still early and very cloudy and dull so photos were never going to be great.

The question is were any of the eight the same three that were present the day before or was it an entirely new flock? They are notoriously short stayers and I can quite believe the three buzzed off overnight and these arrived first thing. Terry swears there was no sign of them on Gunwade before 8am and I had been watching Overton before that. In any case this felt every bit like a find to me and takes my list of found birds in the PBC area to 196 species. Nearing that magic 200!

Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra), eight including one adult male
(Click on pic for a larger image)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 and Leica APO77 with 20x eyepiece.

Click here for pics of the flock of 20 at Ferry Meadows just over a year ago.

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