VELVET SCOTER Melanitta fusca

In modern taxonomy there are three white-winged scoters, originally there was only one, Velvet. Breeding from Scandinavia to central Siberia where it is replaced by Stejneger's Scoter it is unclear whether there is any hybridisation between the two but it is thought not. There is also a disjunct population on high altitude lakes in the Caucasus region, and I have personally seen them in the Altai mountains. Primarily wintering in the Baltic, fewer numbers use the North Sea and are present off the coast of the UK. Their propensity to remain well offshore makes photography difficult, occasionally birds are found on inland resevoirs, but they are usually immatures or females.

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