7 Nov 2013

7 Nov 13 - A Harbour Tick

So far the posts have been beyond, rather than in Poole Harbour. Had planned to have a look around the local patch Studland from late morning as the weather was looking reasonable for passerines. Well that plan failed when I got a call from Paul Morton about mid morning to say a probably Surf Scoter swimming towards Brands Bay. Headed down & quickly met up with Paul & friends watching the bird. Not particularly close, but the head pattern looked good. Couldn't see anything on the wings, but no obvious signs of white. Paul hadn't seen it flap at this point & the white in the closed wing of a Velvet isn't always easy to see on a bird when the wings are closed. Had expected the bill to look a bit heavier, but it was a 1st Winter bird. It was steadily drifting to Redhorn Quay & I suggested relocating to Redhorn as photos should be better from there. Paul suggested they would wait where we were in case it flew (as if that was going to happen).

It's a few minutes walk to the end of Redhorn, during which I was out of view of the bay. Arriving close to the last patch of gorse, I saw a bird dive & when I left the only bird in that part of the bay was the Scoter. I had a small gap to get across & moved quickly to avoid flushing the bird while it was under the water. It popped up & it was a Great Crested Grebe. Damn - one of the many Great Crests had swum around the point. At that point, I saw the Scoter, it had only been yards off the shore, but was now taking off having caught my movement.
Surf Scoter: The lack of white in the wing has at least confirmed the id
Surf Scoter: Further out, but it has turned & the face pattern is visible
Surf Scoter: A distant shot on the water
 Surf Scoter: A distant shot on the water
I stayed for about 3 hours, but during that time it stayed in mid channel between the end of Redhorn Quay & Goathorn. This is only the second record for Poole Harbour, with the previous record being of 2 immature birds found by Nick Hopper on the afternoon of 30 Oct 2007. Frustratingly, I couldn't get away from work that day & they had departed by the following morning. So a good Harbour tick & even better by being on the local Studland patch. Nice one, Paul.

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