To anyone who saw the Slavonian Grebe at the same site in early 2008, the Velvet gives staggering views just as close. A must-see MEGA local rarity. I'm unsure about age & indeed sex of the bird at this stage. From a photographic point of view, I just managed to get there with enough light to get something for the blog, but this bird is a dream subject in good light.
According to the 'Birds of Lancashire' there have only been two genuine inland occurences, 3 probably immatures at Rivington Res on 12 Feb 1956 and a 1st winter male on the Ribble near Preston 21-25 January 1997 (per Tony Cooper). I believe the latter bird apparently made it as far upstream as Brockholes Bridge just downstream of the Tickle Trout Hotel.