Long-tailed Duck – Weston Shore, Hampshire

A female Long-tailed Duck had been seen offshore at Weston in Southampton since late November. I had visited on Boxing Day but couldn’t find it despite a thorough look.

Aly was down for the weekend and so we all decided to go on the Saturday evening and just before they picked me up a Red Kite drifted over the estate. I watched it from my drive and so I’m counting it on my garden list.

Once we arrived at Weston it wasn’t long before we found the Long-tailed Duck drifting with the tide just offshore. Particularly noticeable was the dark cheek spot and a white eye ring and eye stripe drooping down behind the eye.

The duck kept diving for 30 seconds or more and moving significant distances underwater which meant tracking and sketching it was difficult. As well as the Red Kite and Long-tailed Duck, Black-necked Grebe and Common Gull were also new and I ended the day on 90 species for the year.

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