Velvet Scoter at Barrow Lodge, Clitheroe, Lancashire, England - December 27th 2009
This juvenile male Velvet Scoter turned up at Barrow Lodge just outside of Clitheroe on the A59, right next to the service station.
I think it was probably the 3rd or 4th time one had turned up on an inland wetland in Lancashire. Usually can be over 250metres out at sea or even further. The strange thing was that the lodge is quite small and at the time of writing half frozen although it is quite deep.
This was my first time I had ever seen this particular duck and it gave great views. It did not mind people watching it and it would often dive and at times popped back up with a mollusc in its mouth. Normally one would have to go out to te sea to see sucha bird yet here was one right on our doorstep. The adults are a beautiful dark black with a multi-coloured beak.
Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)
The velvet scoter is a black seaduck. It has a long bill, a thick neck and a pointed tail. In flight, it shows a white patch on the rear of the wing - this can also be seen when birds sitting on the sea flap their wings. This species does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor to the east coast, especially in Scotland, Norfolk and north-east England. The large flocks in winter are vulnerable to oil pollution and depleted fish stocks.
Where to see them?
The best place to look is from seawatching points on the east coast, particularly from Norfolk northwards. Birds may be seen in small groups, often loosely associated with flocks of common scoters.
When to see them?
What they eat?
Shellfish, crabs, sea urchins, fish, insect larvae and plants.
UK wintering* - - 3,000 individuals -