Surf Scoter – an Assynt first

May 10th 2011

Surf Scoter – an Assynt first

A sub-adult male Surf Scoter was spotted by David and Avril Haines on 6th May 2011 in Loch Drombaig. The bird was easily visible from the Drumbeg view point swimming near the fish farm cages.

The male Surf Scoter is very distinctive; apart from the massive red and orange bill this dark sea duck has a very obvious white patch at the back of its head. The female may on occasion have a much paler nape patch.

This is a new record for Assynt although one was seen near Handa in early June 1978 and in Tongue in 1988 (The birds of Sutherland by Alan Vittery).

Surf Scoters are rare visitors to the UK from North America with only a handful or records each year. These occur mainly during autumn, winter and spring.

The attached photograph was taken at distance but is sufficient to identify it.

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