3 Mar 2013

Lesser Scaup - nailed it!

After Stan Skelton found a drake Lesser Scaup on the Cop Hole Pool, just outside the Cheshire boundary in Flintshire, a few weeks a go hopes were high that it would relocate to one of the Cheshire Meres and become a proper County rarity. As the weeks passed it did appear that the bird had done one and buggered off somewhere else.

Low and behold, I'm driving back from York after a weekend away celebrating my parents-in-laws 57th wedding anniversary when Mark rings me to say its been re-located at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB.  An hour later  I was standing in the freezing cold watching a 4th for Cheshire doing what rare ducks always seem to do. Namely naff all.

Mindful of the spectre of hybrids as duck's normally shag anything and there are lots of horrible little aythea hybrids knocking around (check the Collin's Guide - they have a double page devoted to these bastard birds), I wanted to check the nail on the tip of the bill and the wingbar to see the important white inner secondary bar and the browner primary bar. So, as birders came and went, I waited and waited.

Eventually a Mallard spooked the Lesser Scaup from its slumbers and it lifted its head before settling back down again.

After awhile the bird decided to rest up on a nearby island so  I waited again until it decided to enter the water on the opposite side. At this point it seemed to perk up a bit and took exception to a Moorhen minding its on business and having a bit of a bath.

At this point I realised it was staying in close proximity to a female Tufted Duck and the aggression was aimed at the Moorhen for coming to close. That'll mean more little hybrids come the spring to confuse us no doubt.

Finally, after what seemed to be an interminable wait but in reality was only an hour, I got the shot I wanted of the open wing. Nailed.

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