Sometimes it pays to look twice

Tufted Ducks nest on the smallest of farm ponds so to see a family party swim past me the other day was not too out of place. But wait a minute. That lead drake isn’t a Tufted at all. It’s a Scaup.
Now an inland Scaup in July in the UK is not unknown but it is quite scarce. A breeding Scaup, all be it with a female Tufted Duck, is not unheard of in the far reaches of Northern Scotland … but this is Norfolk!
I haven’t been to this small private patch of water for over a month so I’m unsure if the Scaup is the father. It may be the drake Tufted Duck is absent and the Scaup is just seeking the company of other Aythya ducks. We will just have to see if the Scaup hangs around and if youngsters grow up with hybrid qualities.


Scaup 1

4 Responses to “Sometimes it pays to look twice”

  1. Jul 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Always expect the unexpected, eh?

  2. 3 Sacha
    Jul 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    The female’s bill doesn’t look right for a Tufted Duck. It almost looks Scaup like! Could this bird be a hybrid and if this is the case could they be escaped or released birds?

    • Jul 21, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks for your comments Sacha. While editing my photos I too didn’t think the female looked quite right for tufted but it’s far away from being a Scaup (no white at base of bill and being considerably smaller than the drake – no broad beam) so I opted for the hybrid option. She was seen to fly a little yesterday and was thought to be sporting a pink ring (not 100% sure) so the escape option may be a probability on the part of the female anyway. I’ll keep looking when I get an opportunity to visit and trying to unravel the situation.

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Jul 2013


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