Ring-Billed Gull - Newquay
Next stop was Porthpean. Scanning produced 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Brent Geese, a few Fulmars, plenty of Gannets and a couple flocks of Common Scoters. They were distant, but didn't seem to contain anything different. Eventually, someone picked out the 3 Surf Scoters (1 1st winter male and 2 female types), the Velvet Scoter and the Long-Tailed Duck all together just off-shore with no Commons Scoters to sort through!
1st winter male Surf Scoter - Porthpean
Velvet Scoter - Porthpean
The final planned stopped was Dozmary Pool where the LESSER SCAUP was showing on arrival, though remained alseep for most of the time I was on site.
LESSER SCAUP - Dozmary Pool
Having connected with all target birds by 1pm, I decided against the american wigeon and matford marsh and headed to Shapwick Heath to gamble for the ring-necked duck, and if I had time cattle egret. Both car parks were packed when I arrived at 3pm, I forgot it was starling roost season. With only a few hours to find I bird, headed out towards Noah's Lake. I spoke to a group of birders as I walked up, they said they had spent a few hours searching and were giving up, maybe my gamble hadn't payed off after all. I got to the first section of water, near the turning for the Noah's Lake Hide. Scanning the tufted ducks up the channel, there was the Ring-Necked Duck!
Ring-Necked Duck - Shapwick Heath
Unfortunetly, I didn't catch up with the guys from earlier. I planned to look for cattle egrets at Sharpham Park next, but as luck would have it, 4 Cattle Egrets flew over the path on my way back to the car! They're almost certain to follow in the footsteps of the great whites, at least on the Somerset Levels. Also of note here were 3 Marsh Harrier, 2 Bullfinch and a Great White Egret.
A very satisfying days twitching to kick off 2018!