Thursday, 30 June 2016


A superb trip up to the Aberdeen area. Arriving mid-morning in blazing sun, we headed straight for the Ythan estuary. Expecting the King Eider to be roosting with the hordes of Common Eider on the far bank, we were pleased to see it sail past us, upstream, at a range of 30 feet. If only the sun was behind me and not so bright, but I'm not complaining.

King Eider
With friends

Next we were a little further up the estuary where a drake American Wigeon was mid-channel with a small group of Wigeon. A summering Whooper Swan was asleep just in front of us.

American Wigeon
Whooper Swan

It was now down to the dunes at Murcar for the main event. Very challenging conditions when we arrived, with strong glare from the sun making the search through the 2000+ scoter flock far from straightforward. I hit lucky just a few minutes in when I picked up a first summer Surf Scoter in flight with a Velvet Scoter. I was well pleased with this self-find tick and it eventually returned to show well just in front of us. After another half an hour we picked up the American White-winged Scoter, getting brief, but tickable views before losing it in the ever-shuffling flock. It was another two hours before we able to pick up the bird again and helped now by the increased cloud cover we managed superb, though distant views.

After a lazy start today we arrived at the Murcar at 08.30 in bright sunshine to a very distant Scoter flock. Luckily the cloud built up quickly and we managed cracking views of the White-winged on and off throughout the morning. Dave picked up another Surf Scoter to add to a cracking tally of rare ducks.

Phonescoped pic of the White-winged Scoter

A great couple of days with thanks to Dave for driving and Chris for putting us up.

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