Friday, 22 January 2016

21st January 2016

Weather:  SE-2, cold. 

The Lighthouse has been very quiet of late with the only highlight being a flock of 14 Litle Egret feeding in one of the coastal fields. 

The recent local (North Wirral) highlight was found late on the  Tuesday afternoon when in the failing light a Scaup spp was located on the East float , Birkenhead, With no optics the observer managed a record shot allowing the bird to be identified as a Greater Scaup. However and as often the case with Aythyas the suspicion of a hybrid  influence crept into the equation.

A return trip in the daytime today allowed for much better views and of course the bird was clearly a 1st winter drake Greater Scaup. This is a bird rarely seen  away from the sea on Wirral where they are seen at distance either bobbing up and down on the sea or in flight.It was nice to see this Greater Scaup at such close quarters and in a plumage (1st winter) that again we rarely encounter on Wirral. It's interesting to note that the pale ventral area is retained through the first winter plumage as the pale flanks and the vermiculated scapulars begin to attain a more adult like appearance.

The bird has remained on Birkenhead East Float for the last couple of days loosely associating with a small flock of Great crested Grebes. Those of us  old enough to remember these docks will recall they were a magnet for White winged Gulls that came to bathe after feeding on the now closed Bidston open landfill. The docks have been given a new lease of 'birding life' this year by the outstanding young birder, Elliot Montieth and his blog. 



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