Sitting in the Ponteland hide at Hauxley on Saturday chatting to a nice bloke from the deep south (Wiltshire I think he said) I was giving him the dubious benefit of my knowledge on idiots burning down hides, creation of Saltmarsh at Hauxley and how to spot a Long tailed Duck that was as usual staying about as far away from any shoreline as possible. 'Difficult to get observers onto them as they are constantly diving' I said. Best time is to wait till they have a preen. 'Yes' he said 'it's doing that now' and shortly after 'and it's getting out of the pond'. I started as sea ducks don't on my experience get out but there it was initially bathing in the shallows and then fully out.
Apologies for the duff photos but proof is needed and as it preened it lost its balance two or three times indicating it was not used to being a land lubber. After a couple of minutes it returned to the middle of the pond and resumed diving mode.