Saturday, 4 June 2011

Surfs up!

So here I was sitting at the computer after having watched Springwatch on Tuesday night when a mate text me asking if I know anything about a Surf Scoter at Blackhall Rocks. I sadly didn't so a quick sing onto BirdGuides released the news that indeed a Surf Scoter was present but had thought to have been a Velvet Scoter when it was first seen. About 5 minutes past and a mate rang me to say he was on site! He was watching the bird but it was way out. It was dark within 30 minutes so I opted against going and hoped it would be there the following morning.

So I was up bright and early (for a student) at about 5.55 and was up and out the door for about 6.30. On site for about 6.50AM and I was quickly onto the Surf Scoter which I was informed was the closest it had been yet. It was well inshore and through the hour and a half or so I stayed I enjoyed excellent views of this cracking sea duck.

As always my terrible photographs and videos don't do the bird justice:

From front right: count in half a scoter, then 4 scoter, the 5th is the Surf. Honest!

 (Surf Scoter - Andrew Kinghorn)

 Front on (as below) the bird is easy to pick out. The bill is large, broad, and brightly coloured. Making the bird sometimes easy to pick out even at great range:

 (Surf Scoter - Andrew Kinghorn)

You can see the diagnostic white blaze on the back of the birds head here clearly, something no other scoter species ever shows:

(Surf Scoter - Andrew Kinghorn)

Must view in HD to see the bird! Click on 360 and change it to 720HD. Even making it full screen might help:

This Surf Scoter was the first twitchable bird in Durham available to the masses and therefore very popular amongst Durham birders. A superb bird and saved me a trip to Fife! Durham is having a great year for county birds; only bird bird I have missed was a Red-necked Phalarope when I was away in Norfolk.

Until next time, Foghorn out!

1 comment:

  1. interesting conversation at the start of the video ;)