Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Lochwinnoch twitching Hooded Merganser

For my firs twitch of 2017 I decided to finally make a move for the Hooded Merganser that had been residing in southern Scotland for the last few months. The location was Lochwinnoch just south of Glasgow. After testing multiple options, I decided that the best way to do it would be by train, going up from Halifax in the morning and returning the same day after a couple of hours at the bird. This method paid off, as I was rewarded with a nice afternoon out birding.
As soon as I arrived on site I connected with the Hooded Merganser. It remained distant throughout my stay unfortunately, on the far side of the Loch to myself, meaning only distant record shots could be obtained. Its a pretty stunning bird, although having seen Hooded Mergansers in collections before there was nothing overly surprising about seeing it. It did come a little closer when it came round the bank at the north end. I headed over that way but found it the same second it found me, so flushed it out again. However, it clearly flew no bother (not clipped) and was obviously wary, so I suspect this is a wild bird and should have no bother getting accepted by the relevant committees.
-Hooded Merganser
As for the supporting cast. There were a host of commoner year-ticks to be had but also some less common. A drake Scaup was unexpected, hanging out with the ample Tufted Ducks on the loch, and showing fairly well too, substantially better than the Merganser thats for certain. Unfortunately I diddnt manage to get a clear shot of it, meaning I still don't have a good photo of a Scaup.
But the highlight of the supporting cast were the Whooper Swans which were around. I headed onto the actual RSPB reserve after a while watching the Merganser and right in front of the hide was a family party of seven Whooper Swans. They were cracking birds, as Whoopers always are. 
-Whooper Swans
The light remained poor throughout the afternoon, with intermittent flecks of drizzle. For that reason I took no decent photos of any of the birds on the list. It was an awesome day out though, and well worth the effort.

Species List:
Lochwinnoch RSPB: Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Cormorant, Hooded Merganser, Goosander, Mallard, Scaup, Whooper Swan, Kingfisher, Great-crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull,Coot, Pochard, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Nuthatch, 

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