Tuesday, 14 June 2011

White-winging it

On Sunday afternoon two firsts for Britain broke within half an hour of each other, I was trying to work out what to do (I had the time, lift offer and inclination to do both but money was the only issue) when the first, the Brown Booby, made the situation a lot more managable by turning back into a Gannet.

Badgeman picked me up at 8.00pm and after collecting Mike 'Posh' Spicer and Franko, the journey got underway at around 9.30pm. We made a couple of stops on the way up for a wee and some food and were in Scotland by 2.15am on Monday. At approx 6.30am we parked up and scanned the sea at Blackdog (near Aberdeen) from the comfort of the car. The only Scoters seen were one or two groups heading south. A Manx Shearwater and a controversial Skua were the highlights there. Bob Watts passed on the news that the large Scoter flock had been located of Murcar Links Golf Club so we parked up over there and joined the surprisingly small gathering. It was a little chilly and visibility was poor. A drake Surf Scoter showed well (British tick 305). I have tried on a couple of occasions for the female at Dawlish Warren but had no success so it was nice to get a drake while looking for something else. While we were moving to join birders at a better vantage point they waved to signal that they had found the bird. Our walking turned into a light run and after five or ten minutes of confusion I got onto the 1st-summer drake WHITE-WINGED SCOTER as it associated and fed with Eiders. It dived a few times and was consequently lost for a while. The next I saw of the bird it flew around several times before pitching down close in for a couple of minutes then taking off circling at close range again and finally landing once more. It gave good views there before getting lost in the throng of other seaducks. An Osprey finished the day off nicely. Other birds seen included five Arctic Skuas, several Velvet Scoters, a Bonxie and a few Red-throated Divers.

We left early in the afternoon and I got home after a near-perfect full rotation of the clock.