Thursday 3 January 2013

It was reported that the female Scaup seen yesterday had returned to the lake, and I went all round and also to the Round Pond without seeing her. There were false alarms, because there are two female Tufted Ducks with broad white saddles over the tops of their bills, which makes them look very like Scaup at first glance. This is one of them.

A female Tufted Duck has a plain dark brown back, while that of of a female Scaup is greyish-brown at at close quarters you can see that it has a vermiculated pattern. A Tufted Duck has a broad black tip to its bill, but on a Scaup's bill only the 'nail' at the centre of the tip is black. And a Tufted Duck always has a tuft on the back of its head, if only a small one, and a Scaup never has a tuft.

The Tawny Owls were not visible either. But a visit to their tree revealed a Green Woodpecker ...

... and a Sparrowhawk on the ground, though it was too far away for us to see what it was doing.

The lone Barnacle Goose was still on the Serpentine.

In this picture it is accompanied by one of the two peculiar white-headed Canada Geese. This bird is a bit smaller than an average Canada Goose, but it doesn't seem to be a hybrid and the rest of its colouring is normal. Several years ago I saw a Canada-Barnacle hybrid, but it was obvious from its appearance what it was and it didn't look like this white-headed goose.

Three pairs of Red-Crested Pochards were cruising around the Serpentine island.

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