Monday, 9 March 2015

Harlequin Duck

Day 4 Seaton Park, Aberdeen and the Banff coast

In the weeks prior to our departure we had been monitoring the whereabouts of the Harlequin Duck on the River Don in Aberdeen. Sod's Law prevailed and on the Sunday before we left the duck disappeared. We had given up any chance of seeing it when, magically, it reappeared. So on the Monday morning we drove to Seaton Park in Aberdeen. The weather forecast was horrendous - a deep low tracking across Scotland's central belt - massive winds and torrential rain were on the way. We arrived early and for some reason I was filled with deep unease and melancholia - it just wasn't comfortable. Give Martin his due he remained optimistic and finally found the duck. The location was under trees and the light values so low that I look at the results and think that I must have been shooting in black and white. There are only so many poses that a bird diving in fast flowing water can make so, when the bird relocated, we packed up and made haste out of the city. Still - a pretty rare bird and a life tick.

With most of the day left we returned home making visits to the Ythan Estuary at Newburgh where we saw Eiders, Goosander and Greenshanks fully supported by the usual suspects. As we stood on the viewpoint the wind had reached howling proportions and the wind chill was cutting to the bone.  On the way back we visited McDuff, Banff, Buckie and finally Spey bay which provided close views of a Razorbill, Shag and a brace of Eiders, just about everything had dived for cover - although in the afternoon the sun finally came through.

At the old harbour in Seatown we located another small flock of Snow Buntings but as we returned to the car for the cameras they gave us the slip.

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