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Monday, 7 November 2016

Farmoor: 7th November

A quiet morning at Farmoor, 10am-12 noon:

Goldeneye 3
Pied Wagtail 40
Meadow Pipit 15
Grey Wagtail 2
Redshank 1

2 juvenile Red-crested Pochard, very distant on F2, trying hard to be Common Scoters. 
They were significantly bigger than nearby Goldeneye. 


  1. Tom, haven't seen the birds first hand so maybe an artifact of viewing on my screen but the left hand bird at least looks v dark for RCP.....

    1. Hi Garraricula, this image isn't great, the middle of F2 is a long reach for a DSLR, the birds were very distant and this is an extreme crop! In the field the flanks appeared pale buff brown, the colour visible on the rear of the left hand bird (the front is in shadow) and contrasted with the dark back, so there was not the impression of a uniform dark body that I've seen on Common Scoter. Also the cheeks were really pale, strongly contrasting with the dark crown. These birds would have been the palest and most contrasty Common Scoter that I've seen, although admittedly they were viewed in strong sunlight, which may have exaggerated these features, and this made me consider other options, hence juvenile RCPochard. But I'd much prefer them to be Common Scoter! If the consenus is that these birds are indeed Common Scoter rather then some feral RCPochard then I'm happy to go with that. Hopefully the birds will stick around for a day or two and someone else can have a look :-)

  2. Hi Tom, thanks for further comments. Again I will start by saying I didn't see the birds in question, just the image and you can't really substitute field views. Personally I have seen scoter that exhibit contrast like this, as you say the strong sunlight probably exaggerated that feature. A low swimming goldeneye could appear distinctly smaller than a buoyant scoter as well.
    I believe the birds were not present today so it may remain unresolved but personally I lean towards common scoter.
    All the best
    Dave Lowe