After scoring with a drake Surf Scoter this morning and 6 fine Velvets in flight at midday, this evening I joined Paul from the West Midlands at Hotel 70 degrees layby and we were rewarded (after much searching) with a fine drake Surf Scoter. No big news there, until a 'female' was noted tagging along with it. As I turned the scope up to x60 for a better view, I realised that the bird didn't have the two white cheek patches as expected, but instead had a faded white nape patch that stood out nicely in the low evening sun. The brown plumage coupled with the off-white nape all pointed to a 1st year drake - a new bird and the 5th of the winter! Result!
A single drake 'Velvet' Scoter in the flock could have been last night's interesting bird and gives hope that it's still be around. Interestingly, Julian Wheldrake and two visting birders had a single 'orange billed' Velvet last Monday in the flock.
Paul had two Eider past while Frank Duff had a Long tailed Duck early afternoon. A single Sandwich Tern was at Rhos Point and was still present mid-evening.