Sunday, 12 January 2014

scaup (Aythya marila L.), Poole Park, Dorset

Spending a weekend in Poole with friends provided an opportunity to catch up with the scaup reported on the little lakes at Poole Park.

Based on an erroneous assumption on my part, combined as it was with my limited experience of this species - we wasted valuable time searching for an adult bird of either sex, scanning the groups of tufted ducks (Aythya fuligula), on the small water bodies, but failing to find it. A diversionary scan on the main lake produced a welcome sighting of a single male red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator), but still no scaup.

As the levels of interest and patience were beginning to wain amongst us, I remained determined to get the bird - working on the principle that it was so well reported that " .. it still must be here! Mustn't it?" .. So I took out Collins, scanned the species entry for the first time that day, and carefully squinted at the small picture, top left "winter flock" .. Nudging my companion .. I commented that all was not lost we should look for 1w birds as well. Almost as the words were out of my mouth the scaup "suddenly appeared" within the raft of tufted we had been viewing. Head up it stood out like only a 1w male scaup could. Before setting its head down and going to roost as soon as my camera came out of the bag.