Wednesday, 2 March 2016

'Scoped Scaup Scoop

Drake scaup with wigeon
Following a report of a drake scaup from the flooded Wildfowlers' Pools on Monday (courtesy of Javier Caletrio via LDBWS site), I trundled down to the patch to see if I could relocate the scarce duck this morning.
First I checked Freeman's Pools but there were few ducks there; twenty or so wigeon, 4 gadwall, f few each of mallard & teal and a couple of goldeneye. Three little grebe and a little egret were also present but no diving ducks.
A pair of tufted duck were on Frog Pond, and the Siberian chiffchaff was in its favoured haunt.

There were fewer black-tailed godwit on the W Pools today, with around 140 busily feeding in the shallows. At flock of at least 200 redshank made for an impressive sight, while just 30ish dunlin remained.
A pair of shoveler were 'new in' while teal numbers had gone down since my last visit a couple of days ago.
A few gadwall were dabbling in the deeper water but other than a pair of goldeneye there was no sign of any monochromatic diving ducks.
I walked along Dawson's bank back down to Marsh Point, stopping to 'scope the couple of hundred pink-footed geese on Aldcliffe Marsh. Checking the flooded fields from the bank revealed little more than I had seen from the cycle track.

Drake scaup, Freeman's Pools
A scan through the gulls at Marsh Point was uneventful but the sight of a group of tufted duck on the upper Freeman's Pools at least gave hope. A quick look proved them all to be tufties...
Yet more tufteds were with a small number of wigeon at the eastern edge of the pools and a brief binoc view came up trumps. There, among the commoner aythyas was a handsome drake scaup. Lovely.
These birds are genuine rarities in the Aldcliffe area (indeed in the Lancaster & District recording area) with very few records locally. A drake was on the Lune in October 2015, while a couple of long-stayers included females in 2012 and 2008.


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