Spot the scaup and unseasonal sightings

For the past week or so a female scaup has been feeding on the reserve among the large numbers of tufted duck (see the photo taken here by Paul Gregory).

Like the tufted ducks, these are diving ducks. They generally overwinter in the seas around UK coasts but will often come further inland to freshwater. The female has a distinctive white area around the base of the bill and, if you can get a close look at the point of the bill, the "nail" is black. The scaup has been visible clearly from the Observatory, Headley hide and Peacock Tower - come and see if you can pick her out from the tufted ducks!

Elsewhere on the site, a juvenile slow worm and common toad have taken advantage of the milder weather and come out to feed. They were found on Sunday 16 January.

This is not uncommon for amphibians and reptiles, particularly on sunny winter days. These images were taken by Mike, one of our wardens (See more of Mike's reserve photos) . We've also seen a bat feeding on the reserve. The Bat Conservation Trust say that they've received a few calls about bat sightings recently, again, probably due to the warmer weather


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