Long Tailed Ducks Shetland 2011.
On Wednesday 25th February i set off in the very early hours and headed to Northumberland in the hope of seeing the adult drake Black Scoter which would be a lifer for me , i made great time getting us there and i pulled into the car park at Cheswick at approx 8am .
I walked through the sand dunes and started scanning the sea for any Scoters , there were lots of Long Tailed Ducks and Red Breasted Mergansers either on the sea or flying by , these were two welcome year ticks but not my target bird , a few Common Scoters flew by and then i eventually got onto a large raft of Scoters a very very long way out .
I scanned the flock of approx 75+ birds , whacked up my zoom to the max 60x and started scanning through again . this was very frustrating as soon as you started to scan them they would disappear behind the waves or they would dive .
However on about my 15th scan through the flock i located the Adult drake Black Scoter , it's huge yellow bill stood out like a bleacher beckon looking straight back at me and then it disappeared behind a wave , aaaagh , eventually i relocated it again and distant but goodish views were obtained phew ........ There was also one single Velvet Scoter among the raft of Scoters.
I saw it a half dozen times but only brief views each time as the flock seemed to be drifting further out on an outgoing tide , the flock separated with the bulk of the Scoters including the Black Scoter drifting further out , i spent 3 hours there and was very cold by the end of it , not satisfactory views to be honest but i could see what it was and by the sounds of it most views of this bird seem to be very distant.
I also had a close in Slavonian Grebe plus several Red Throated Divers and Guillemots .
I had a brief drive through Widdrington / Stobswood area in the hope of connecting with the Pink Footed Goose flock which had a Ross's Goose among their numbers but had no luck locating the flock .
I then headed to Rufforth air field which seems to be the mecca location for Gulls however i got my timing wrong as most of the Gulls were busy feeding on the tip , i met a local birder there who very kindly gave me directions for a nearby Waxwing at Acomb , so of i set arriving on site about 10 mins later.
I saw this cracking bird straight away right out in the open , and after a few photos i then had a long drive home , i saw a Red Kite on route which was a welcome year tick.