Sunday, 7 March 2010

Velvet Scoter at Barrow Lower Lake, near Clitheroe

January 1, 2010:
This appears to have been the last day that the Velvet Scoter was seen here. It had been present since just before Christmas amongst a large flock of Mallard on a very limited area of unfrozen water close to the stream inlet.

The bird was quite approachable and was seen and photographed by many people. It fed on large freshwater mussels which it swallowed without difficulty. At times when diving, its bill became snagged with nylon fishing line but it always seemed able to discard it eventually. This was a very rare inland record for a bird usually found well out at sea and was possibly only the third such for Lancashire. In the increasingly harsh weather the lake completely froze over and this was almost certainly the reason for the bird's departure. The Mallard, however, just sat it out on the ice awaiting the thaw.

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