An aythya duck amongst the tuftys caught my eye and had the alarm bells ringing today (Tuesday 25th), at Norton Disney gravel pits. The thought of Lesser scaup jumped into my grey matter. It did look like one superficially but upon inspection it wasn’t quite right. I gave Dean Nicholson a call, as he is very often birding in this area. He wasn’t available, but told me that I’d probably stumbled upon a bird that had been seen before by himself and other birders, and had been around the Thurlby/Whisby/Hykham area for two or three years, though seldom seen. What was it?.a pochard/tufted hybrid, Dang! notoriously a confusion bird with lesser scaup.
The mantle/back steely grey, not vermiculated as in lesser scaup.
Purple sheen on head.
Eye slightly less bright than lesser scaup or tufty.
Dirty white flanks.
Bump at back of head.
Small black nail on bill, not as small as lesser scaup.
Diving a lot more than tuftys and staying down longer.
Chris Grimshaw turned up later and we watched the bird for some time, though it was always over the other side of the pit. I did manage some digi-scoped pics.