Harlequin Duck

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15th March 2013


Ever since I was a young birdwatcher, a drake Harlequin duck seemed a special bird to try and see, with its superb blue and chestnut plumage. It took me years, until a trip to British Columbia in 2010 finally rewarded me with some superb views of a group of males. There have only been about a dozen records in Scotland of wandering birds from the Icelandic population, and the recent find by Brian Rabbits of a drake on North Uist proved too tempting and I made a quick overnight ferry trip. Although my views were distant, the late afternoon light was terrific, and the bird was feeding on the edge of some rocky islets all on its own. Also in the Balranald area was a Ring-necked Duck and a Snow Goose with Greylags. There were hundreds of Barnacles, and amongst them somewhere was a Richardson's Canada Goose, but this evaded me. As ever the Uists were teeming with birds with hundreds of Twite and Lapwings displaying everywhere. Thanks to Steve for his help and check out www.western-isles-wildlife.com for more information. Note the image shown was taken in Canada.