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.