Sunday, 25 January 2015

Surf Scoter at Wrabness ESSEX

The view from Bradfield
I've watched the reports of Surf Scoter coming in for a while now as the first winter drake seems to have decided it's an Essex bird so this morning we headed off up the A12 to Bradfield arriving at first light we parked on the main road and walked down Shore Lane to the estuary shore. We scanned and scanned in the freezing conditions and found lots of Goldeneye, Brent Geese, Mergansers, Great Crested Grebe and a couple of small Grebes (probably Slav's). The estuary was full of waders with Avocet, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Curlew and Oyster Catcher a few of those encountered. With no joy from this vantage point we returned to the car and drove to Wrabness parking in the wildlife reserve car park and walking the tarmac path to the bird hide which overlooks the estuary. On arrival a couple of birders were already scanning but had not seen the Scoter. As I raised my bins I spotted a dark duck on the near side of the water and quickly put the others onto what I suspected was our target. To their delight and my relief it was indeed the Surf Scoter and it gave us all great scope views as the light improved.
I took a record shot.

Surf Scoter.
On the walk back to the car we found a small group of Bullfinch for another year tick and I had a fly over Peregrine for tick number three for the day. We moved onto Abberton and from Layer Breton causeway Jim found us a Bittern in the far reed bed and three Smew (two drakes) which again remained distant. The Island held a group of Snipe and despite reports whilst there we failed to connect with the White-fronted Geese.

Grey Goose
Year list now at 134

A have a few birds from last January's total still not seen this year and with only one more Saturday in January these could all remain missing. I have seen a few more than last January's total at this point so so not all bad news. I think overall I'm up six!

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