BBC Wildlife Magazine - - WILD JANUARY -

1 Gru­inard Bay,

Ross and Chro­marty, in West Scot­land con­sists of a large ex­panse of shel­tered sea with nu­mer­ous rocky in­lets and sandy bays, which is su­perb for divers and grebes through­out win­ter and up to early May.

2 Rose Isle

on the Mo­ray coast in north­east Scot­land is a great lo­ca­tion to catch up with both com­mon and vel­vet scoter, in ad­di­tion to long-tailed duck. The tops of the dunes in the Forestry Commission car park of­fer good views.

3 Fi­ley Bay

in North York­shire, is lo­cated just south of the Brigg and, at high tide, it is pos­si­ble to see all three species of diver. Even rar­i­ties, such as king ei­der and surf scoter, have been known to turn up.

4 Pagham Har­bour

in Chich­ester is now man­aged by the RSPB. The off­shore wa­ters clos­est to Church Nor­ton fre­quently hold an im­pres­sive va­ri­ety of over­win­ter­ing ducks, divers and grebes.

5 Car­marthen Bay

in West Wales was no­ti­fied in 2003 as the UK’s first marine Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Area for its huge win­ter ag­gre­ga­tions of about 20,000 com­mon scoter. Pem­brey Bur­rows is as good a spot as any from which to view the duck rafts.

Take a tele­scope, or a friend that has one. Oth­er­wise, the birds may well end up be­ing lit­tle more than float­ing dots on the hori­zon.

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