Manchester birder Pete Berry had found a Lesser Scaup near Stranraer while I was in Mexico and although not a D&G tick I was keen to see this bird. Mrs. B. and I stayed in Southerness overnight and next morning took in a few local lochs (seeing little of note) and a Dipper at Skyreburn (a D&G year tick) en route to Stranraer. It didn't take long to find the Lesser Scaup on the small loch associating with a dozen or so Tufties.
Despite the poor weather we got great views and the tight flock of diving ducks came pretty close due to the noise of a local with a strimmer on the banks. The important characters noted included the size (about that of the accompanying Tufties), head shape (noticeable peak at rear), black on bill restricted to the "nail" at the tip and strong dark vermiculations on the grey back.
In the bad light the head gloss was hard to make out but appeared green at times, changing to purple in the briefest moment. I seem to remember noting this combinaton on a drake Lesser Scaup on Lancashire's Fylde a couple of years ago in dark conditions. Other observers have commented that in sunny conditions a purple sheen to the head can be seen.
The bird did sit up and flap its wings a few times but as usual I was farting around with the camera, dropping gloves, blowing my nose or performing some other essential function appropriate in the study of national rarities at the time. However I did see white on the secondaries, but it was just too quick to get detail of grey on the primaries. Despite trying to "encourage" the bird to flap while I was 'scoping it (banging car doors, clapping, making Mrs. B. swim out to poke it - nah, just joking [she can't swim]), it just wouldn't oblige. This clinching feature has been noted by others however.
On to Loch Ryan then ..........