A second visit to a quiet Chew Valley Lake provided several head-throwing goldeneye ducks in full display, and after some eye-straining telescope work, a dapper drake Lesser Scaup was eventually found at the GPS point over the far side of the bay, diving regularly and loosely associating with a small group of tufted ducks. A smart visitor from North America, lesser scaups are now regular each winter at a tiny number of southern British lakes and pools.
16:00-16:30: Noah’s Lake, Shapwick Heath, Somerset (51.157262, -2.811770)
With no one having seen the Ferruginous Duck for two days, yet there being two birds on this stretch of the Avalon Marshes, I whisked myself out to Noah’s Lake, where on the battered water thousands of wigeon were calling, three great white egrets were loafing, and a bittern stood in the open at the back of the lake. There were very few pochards, the ‘carrier’ species for the duck, so I walked back to Ham Wall.
16:40-16:50: Ham Wall, Avalon Marshes, Somerset (51.151661, -2.780074)
My duck luck was in today in a big way. At dusk, as shoals of starlings streamed overhead, I scanned a group of pochard in the fading light and quickly found a smart drake Ferruginous Duck, with its distinctive domed head shape, sharp white rump and chestnut colouration.