Saturday, 6 November 2010

King Nothing.

Having already had suspicions of there being a King Eider in West Voe on the 1st Nov (an issue that was discussed with members of the 'patches commission'), it was time to take the 'scope out for the day to West Voe (I was also going to do this on Thursday, but the flock was a good way out, too far for some subtleties anyway), luckily this time all the ducks were fairly close in to the Scatness side, the bird was immediately visible, preening, about 100 yards offshore and did indeed seem to be a female King Eider ! There were however some features that didn't seem to fit - the flanks seemed to show a mix of King and Common features, the scaps and some mantle feathering looked better for Common Eider rather than King and the breast feathering looked to be barred (although only when the bird was preening). After about a half hour of deliberation I phoned the 'encyclopedia harvica', who then came down for a good look and we both agreed that some of these features were a bit odd, after more deliberation we came to the conclusion that the bird is in 1st winter plumage and has retained some juvenile feathers (particularly the scaps). After watching the bird for over an hour, the sun finally came out, and the features of King became glaringly obvious. I'm pretty sure that this bird would have been nailed earlier if (A) it had not been blowing a gale all week and pissing down, (B) the flock was as close in earlier in the week as it was today and (C) if I could have been arsed to take the 'scope out one day (today is only the second time that the 'scope has left the house since returning from Gujarat in March !).
Today should have been quite celebratory with this find, however, it was somewhat marred by views expressed (not to me, I may add !) by the usual tosser, suggesting suppression or incompetence - "bizarre, bizarre, blah, blah, yaki dah, etc, etc".
Other 'stuff' seen today - 1 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, 2 Waxwings plus a Little Auk in Quendale Bay.

King Eider (the last 2 shots 'digiscoped' and as you can see by the quality, I've clearly forgotten how to do this !).

A regular occurrence in the Spiggie Hotel ?

1 comment:

Jason said...

The mind boggles!