Thursday 23 December 2021

Scaup on Seaton Marshes!

I have lost count of how many times I have mentioned on this blog just how scarce diving ducks are on the Axe. But it is somewhat ironic that the first year I've known with not a single Tufted Duck or Pochard record, is the year an Aythya patch mega puts in an appearance!


Clive found a female Greater Scaup on Seaton Marshes this morning. The first patch record since the winter of 1988/89 when a male spent some time on the Borrow Pit, also Seaton Marshes. Thanks for clarifying the date Phil. 

Great to watch it frequently dive in this shallow lagoon

Note that distinctive pale cheek spot

I always thought my first patch Scaup would likely be during a spell of cold weather, which clearly was not the case today. However although it's not cold here, something notable is happening with wildfowl presumably due to easterly winds and cold temperatures on the continent. Across the south and south west of England during the last week odd ducks like our Scaup have been appearing at unusual locations, as well as a noticeable arrival of grey geese (Tundra Bean, Pink-feet and Russian White-fronts) and the odd wild swan. Am sure it's only time before we get something else - I really wouldn't mind a slice of Exminster Marshes current luck! They currently have singles of all three of the above mentioned geese and three Whooper Swans.

Being the first patch Scaup in 35 years this was obviously a patch tick for me, my second tick of 2021 in what is turning out to be my year of 'unblocking'.  Just need a mid-winter Puffin now!

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