It started off as a normal sighting. A little offshore, but close enough in to get a half decent view and decide that it was a female Scoter, and without any discerning marks it was, ergo, common. Nothing unusual there you might guess. Single bird, being shadowed by a couple of hungry gulls trying to second guess where it would turn up after it’s next dive. I didn’t expect to see it again, but was glad that I had seen it anyway.

The next day (this being Wednesday) it was still there. Slightly closer in with the same situation going on. I watched it for a bit (the light still not great for looking at the finer nuances of an essentially monotone bird). It seemed to have a bit more marking around the head, but I couldn’t be sure exactly what was going on and the light wasn’t great. And then I saw it dive from the top of a wave. With its wings open. Oh dear; according to common knowledge that means that it is a Velvet. But it wasn’t showing any noticeable white on the wings. Bogger. So it then became a probable Velvet maybe.

It was there again the next day, but this time the wind was up and it was further out and I couldn’t ascertain any further details other than it was showing a reasonably long neck. Then I saw two chaps with tripods. Excellent I thought, get them to get their scopes onto it and ‘Robert is your muvva’s bruvva’ – ID in the bag. But no, they were taking photos, not watching birds.

It was there again today, but with more choppy seas it was too far out to make any difference to the already accumulated knowledge. So it still stays in the undecided camp. It sort of looks like a Common, sort of acts like a Velvet but I cannot be sure so it goes down as Scoter spp. Unless it hangs about the pyramids until Monday (which I doubt), it will stay as spp….

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