Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Harlem Globetrotter - 17th January 2015

After heading up to Arctic Norway last year, I've got a bit of a thing for Arctic ducks! When a Harlequin Duck turned up in Aberdeen, I felt it was completely necessary to go and see it! I couldn't get there the first weekend and I was working during the week, so Matt Bruce, Jonnie Fisk and I drove up in the early hours of Saturday morning to go and see it. When we arrived, there was a film crew there filming Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games for Winterwatch, which was somewhat novel, but that's not what we were there for!
To begin with, the duck was playing a litle hard to get in a hard to view meander. It was still doing exactly what I expected it to though by playing around in a torrent like a professional kayaker. Later on, it decided to hang around with a couple of Goosander and eventually moved into the more open water. From here it sat right in the open on a rock, preening itself. When it came back into the water, it was drifted downstream by the current and much to the surprise of the assembled crowd, came and stood on the rocks about 5ft away from us! A truly remarkable encounter of a bird that, given such close views, is truly beautiful! If it happens to stay until the spring and moults into full adult male plumage, I will certainly have to have a return journey! What a brilliant twitch with two of the best birding companions a loner like me can ask for!

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