Bird­ing ques­tions

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Your bird­watch­ing pon­der­ings an­swered by our panel of ex­perts

QWe saw this duck on a fresh­wa­ter pool at the River­side Na­ture Re­serve, Dundee, by the River Tay. To us, it looks like a first-win­ter male Scaup, but we’re not sure, es­pe­cially as it was on fresh wa­ter. Andy and Karen Evans

AYour in­stincts were ab­so­lutely cor­rect – this is a first-win­ter male Scaup. The dis­tinc­tive black ‘nail’ (the tip of the bill) is suit­ably re­stricted, and it can also be told from the sim­i­lar Tufted Duck by the head shape (no hint of a tuft), and by its longer, larger body. Cru­cially, he’s grad­u­ally los­ing his mainly brown ju­ve­nile plumage and some of the pale grey back feath­ers are just grow­ing. Although Scaup are sea ducks, typ­i­cally be­ing seen in large ‘rafts’ off the coast, some do win­ter on fresh wa­ter in­land, some­times a very con­sid­er­able dis­tance from the coast, where they’re of­ten found in the com­pany of Tufted Ducks. For that rea­son, some prob­a­bly get over­looked.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.