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On Sunday I went to Cosmeston Lakes Country Park to look for the Scaup that has, since 13 December, been enjoying the delights of the lakes and the company of the huge number of Tufted ducks currently resident there. I had a wonderful mooch about but couldn’t find the Scaup (though I did spot a Hawfinch, a rare visitor, and was very pleased with that).

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So, I went back again on Monday, partly to look again for that Hawfinch but also for the Scaup. And I was lucky with both birds, with another very fleeting, distant view of the finch but superb close views of the Scaup, which came to feed on the seed I always carry with me in the winter.

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This is a drake Scaup – actually a Greater scaup (Aythya marila), which is usually just known as Scaup, as the Lesser scaup is so rarely seen, and a first-winter bird, as it doesn’t yet have its adult plumage – the brown colouring you can see on this bird will disappear as it develops into an adult.

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In south Wales, the Scaup is an uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant, which, according to the latest Glamorgan Bird Report, enjoyed a ‘welcome increase of records and numbers’ in the 2017 first winter period (i.e. between January and mid April). Let’s hope the increasing number of sightings of this handsome little duck continues.

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