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Sunday, 12 June 2011

More news coming in on the AMERICAN WHITE-WINGED SCOTER

There is a very good candidate for a White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi), on the sea off Blackdog, north of Aberdeen.

The bird was found yesterday morning by myself, Chris Gibbins and Hywel Maggs. It is a first-summer drake and the difficulty in identifying the bird in this plumage has been the cause of delay in releasing the news as the available literature mainly deals with adult birds. We have circulated the images amongst several individuals and the feedback and comments received are very positive. The bird shows all the features that we would expect to see in a first-summer drake White-winged Scoter and no negative features.

We have watched the bird again today with several other observers (thanks Phil C, Phil B, Nick L and Ian G for your help) and discussed at length the identification with Martin Garner. We are now happy torelease the news as we are happy with our decision and feedback received.

The bird is on the sea off Blackdog with the large congregation of seaduck that summer at the site (currently at least three Surf Scoter,c.100 Velvet Scoter and 1000+ Common Scoter and many Eider). It is perhaps best looked for on a rising tide when the birds come closer to shore. Access. Blackdog is six miles north of Aberdeen, signposted off theA92. Drive to the end of the road and then take the track down to the beach, past the fishing huts. Good luck to those going.

Paul Baxter, Chris & Hywel