Friday, 30 March 2012
Old Colwyn Scoter flock - be aware!!!!!
An hour at the scoter flock late afternoon was very rewarding with the birds much closer than I've seen before. From the old Hotel 70degrees layby the four Surf Scoters were soon picked up and showed well - 3 drakes and a female. Several Velvet Scoters were also present with at least ten seen in flight and a few picked up on the sea. I picked up one bird that was immediately interesting. I'm posting it here so that those of you who are on site over the weekend can have a good look for it and have it on your radar.
The 'Velvet' type bird flew in to the front of the flock on its own, a nice drake. As it landed the immediate feature was a big white area around the eye, like a crescent shape extending towards the back of the head. The 'white patch' certainly seemed a lot larger than the other Velvets around, most of which I couldn't even make the white on the face at that range.
The other feature that worried me was the bill - the colour of the 'end half' seemed an orangy colour, although at times it even looked pinkinsh - even at this range. Although distant, the bird seemed to have a dark buldge at the top of the bill, tapering towards the end and looking long. The rest of the bird was like a typical drake Velvet.
At this stage I'm certainly not claiming a mega, however my pulse did race as I watched the bird and I talked to Alan, Steve Williams and Chris on the phone while on site and they confirmed that the features seemed good for a 'white winged' type Scoter. I enclose a quick sketch of what I saw that I drew immediately after watching the bird for 10 minutes or so. Sorry for the quality.
Fingers crossed the birds are as close tomorrow and hopefully with some good light we can either nail it as a mega or confirm it as a bright looking Velvet - however, with 30,000 Common Scoter out there it will take some re-finding. If you're along the North Wales coast over the next week or so, the scoter flock is well worth searching through - at worst you'll get multiple Surfies, Velvets, Long tailed Duck, Scaup and the amazing spectacle of 30,000+ Common Scoter!