March 22, 2013: Oban, Scotland
March 26, 2013: Rare duck in Scotland!
March 26, 2013: Aberlady Bay, Scotland
March 30, 2013: Unique photo of a lifer (Paris, France)
March 31, 2013: Photos d'oiseaux de France (Paris, France)
April 2, 2013: Seabird die-off on the east coast of Scotland
Today, Laura and I headed over to Aberlady Bay, east of Edinburgh along the coast, to see what birds we could find throughout the afternoon. I will make a full post about this trip eventually, but right now I will just post some pictures of a potential rare bird we came across.
As we were leaving the main estuary area and heading back to the town of Aberlady, I was keeping an eye on the shorebirds (mostly Dunlin, Euro Oystercatchers, and Euro Curlews) and ducks (mostly Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Eiders, Mallards, and Common Shelducks). Four wigeon were relatively close to us, so I stopped to scan them. 2 male Eurasian, 1 female Eurasian, and 1 odd looking and familiar wigeon. It appeared to be a female American Wigeon; a species I am very familiar with in Ontario but not one I was expecting in Scotland. However it is a tough call with female wigeons, so I tried to document the bird with photos as it sat in the grass.
|putative American Wigeon (left) with Jackdaw (right) - Aberlady Bay, Scotland|
Here is another photo from a little closer. In the above photo, the grayish head really stands out (compared to the deeper brown head of a Eurasian Wigeon). In the following photo you can see the faint black line along the gape (proximal edge of the bill) which is apparently diagnostic for American Wigeon.
|putative American Wigeon - Aberlady Bay, Scotland|
Of course, a shot of the wings would be needed to clinch the ID. Fortunately for us, the 4 birds eventually got up and flew (the tide was going out and the ducks were constantly coming and going). I was able to get a series of photos including one showing the white auxillaries on the underside of the wing. Eurasian Wigeon has an all gray underwing most of the time.
|putative American Wigeon (right) with Eurasian Wigeon - Aberlady Bay, Scotland|
|putative American Wigeon (second from right) with Eurasian Wigeon - Aberlady Bay, Scotland|
Does anybody have any thoughts on this bird? Bruce MacTavish, are you reading? It looks good to me but I don't want to jump the gun. Apparently there are 3 previous records for the Lothians, with the last coming in 1998.