Scaup woe

Dropped into Loch of Benston twice yesterday, once on my way to work, and once on the way home looking for the drake Lesser Scaup. On both occasions I didn’t have much time available to me, and after seeing nothing in the morning turning up in the afternoon to discover what was presumably the bird on the distant shore of the loch was disappointing.

To be perfectly honest, it could just as easily have been a bog-standard Scaup instead of a Lesser Scaup at that range. The pale back was about all that it had going for it to suggest something of a scaupish persuasion, nevermind the precise species. So no way of picking out anything else on the wing pattern or head shape / colour etc. Rather than be stringy, for now Lesser Scaup stays off my (metaphorical) Shetland list. May try for it again this afternoon, and make the effort to walk around the lochside to get a little closer if it’s still playing hard to get.

Finished rabbit-wiring the the new yard yesterday evening, and just need to pull my finger out now with the higher level chicken-proofing and wind-meshing. Ideally I need to get my tatties planted in the next few days, which will conflict somewhat with the current south-easterlies and the welcome promise of some accompanying rain showers. We may finally get some fresh migrants.

Some evidence of that last night, as besides a freshly arrived Swallow hawking around the hen-yard, there was another new bird for the house yearlist. In the gloom after 10pm I couldn’t be sure what I was seeing when I found something small and dark flittering around my byre – my initial thought was that it was a bat! Closer to, the ‘bat’ resolved itself into a small chat-shaped bird silhouetted against the darkening sky as it perched on a wire fence. It felt kind of redstartish… This morning, the mystery resolved itself with a fine male Black Redstart outside the byre.


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