Poor weather has prevented me from travelling east to twitch a couple of interesting rarities and so I have spent time working the local area. At this time of the year I rely heavily on gulls, grebes and divers and the occasional sea duck to brighten the short dark days. It was a real bonus to find two velvet scoters in Ardmair bay about 3 miles north of the village. Although not considered a great rarity, these birds are very uncommon along the NW coast. I trolled through my old field notebooks and realised that I have not recorded this species here for a good number of years! The session also turned up a slavonian grebe, 7 great northern divers, 1 black-throated diver, 3 little grebes and a few goosander and red-breasted mergansers. The velvet scoter were diving for crustaceans about 30 metres out from the shingle beach and by waiting for them both to dive I was able to walk down the shingle to get a couple of snaps even though the light was very poor. Nice birds for the local area!