Friday 20 March 2015

Sea Ducks in Spring: Common Scoter

Common Scoter, Startops reservoir Oct 2013

Tring reservoirs: It is officially Spring. BBC news says so. And, the sun has actually been shining (after its dalliance with the moon). Bees have been buzzing. Butterflies (Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone) fluttering and migrant birds dropping from the skies. Well, a Common Scoter anyway. I wasn’t going to venture far today but sea ducks in Hertfordshire are worth the effort, especially since the last one I saw was nearly 18 months ago (photographed above).

At this time of year, this male is/was heading for a breeding ground. According to the RSPB website the small UK breeding population (estimated at 52 pairs) favours the “lochs in N and W Scotland, especially the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. In winter it is found off the UK coast with concentrations in Carmarthen and Cardigan Bays, along the Moray Firth, and along the North Norfolk coast.” The bird today spent much of its time with its head tucked under its wing, only exerting energy when Coots came over to bother it. Views weren’t great, looking into the sun, 150 meters offshore, but it’s still exciting when these brave travellers drop in for some R&R. I hope he’s able to get himself back into the air and continue his journey north.

The female Scaup was still about, over on Startops reservoir, and was actually doing something other than “resting”. She was a little further out today but I took some video footage anyway.

Bovingdon (BMT): This afternoon, I visited the Bovingdon Brickworks. The Common Frogs have laid spawn in the same flooded gully as last year, not that any of those eggs made it to adulthood. The gully dried up before the tadpoles could reach maturity, unfortunately. A couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming (one on the east side, the other on the west); 2 Chiffchaffs were singing and there were at least 2 Song Thrushes producing their rich, gloriously strange repertoire. Overhead, 2 Red Kites rode the thermals.

Boxmoor, naturally… The 6 posts from last year which followed the progress of the Common Frog spawn at the Brickworks: 20 March 2014 - 22 May 2014

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely duck! (And I love the shot of the frog spawn.It looks like lots of eyes staring out at us.). From ARF


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