Sunday, 19 June 2011

Another White-winged Scoter...

You wait an eternity, having previously toyed with the idea of a perhaps a glacial treat in Iceland supplemented by a scoter. And then, just like London buses, two come along at once. First it was the 'rhino from the east' in Ireland that exceeded all expectations - excellent views and distinctiveness all set against the spectacular scenery of The Iveragh peninsular in County Kerry.
drake Stejneger's Scoter, Rossbeigh, County Kerry March 2011
And then, almost like a compare and contrast exercise, along came the subdued deglandi that I saw yesterday in grim weather in Aberdeenshire. Rather ironic for the American not to be big and brash, but this young drake was a subtle, interesting bird. Fortunately, having driven through the night, I arrived in the grim hours at Murcar and immediately got onto it, watching it continually for 10-15 minutes at much better range and viewing conditions than I'd expected. Certainly the most subdued immature drake in the flock - a tepid bill colour, with a distinctive nasal protrusion (lacking the killer rhino-effect of the Stejneger's of course!) and some lovely brown flanks that contrasted well with the Velvet Scoters of similar age.
drake King Eider on the Ythan Estuary

The trip up north was supplemented by some excellent views (again in the rain) of a drake King Eider on the Ythan. Lovely to be back there, bringing back memories of the youthful excitement I had when I first went there with my Dad in April 1996.

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