Strontian Black Duck
Superb views from the river bank
View towards Glencoe
Stunning passing through Glencoe
Not a bad view of the room
Next morning the Duck was practically outside the hotel
In mid January I received a Twitter message from the Captain in North Wales asking if I fancied a trip to the Outer Hebrides in mid February. After initially thinking it was a joke & picking myself up off the floor, a plan was hatched to head up for a long weekend to visit the island and hopefully see the American Coot and also the legendary Black Duck in Strontian en route.
A 3am get up wasn't exactly what you need ahead of a non stop birding weekend but par for the course. After a quick changeover in Wrexham we headed north stopping in Lancashire to watch the Pink-footed Geese rise from the salt marsh over our heads.
The scenery was very dramatic as we headed through Glencoe towards Strontian. We stopped a number of times including once where we picked up a pair of Slavonian Grebes & Red-throated Divers.
I'd done plenty of research on the American Black Duck so certainly didn't expect it to be an easy task to find him. Apparently some birders had visited the site three times and had never seen this pesky Duck. We walked every step from the bridge to the mouth of the river in vein as there was no sign except for the ducks hybrid youngsters, a number of Hooded Crows, Curlews & an Otter.
Heading back over the bridge into the village, two ducks flew straight over us from north of the river to land towards the mouth. One looked very dark raising our hopes, so we scurried over the river bank towards that direction. Imagine how pleased we were when the American Black Duck was on the river with it's mate just watching us not at all fussed, almost enjoying the attention as I took a few hand held shots in the fading light.
Both satisfied with our sighting we retreated to the Strontian Hotel where we had a lovely meal & raised a toast to the American Black Duck.