Posts Tagged ‘Eider’

Day 2 of my brief trip to Speyside saw us heading for the Moray coast. Our first destinations was the Findhorn Estuary. As we left Forres we noticed some birds in a hedge and scrub area on closer inspection found a mixed flock of Finches and buntings including some stunning Yellowhammers and Linnets.

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Ye;;owhammers

Ye;;owhammers

Moving onto the coast we had some great views of Long-tailed Duck, Eider, Great Northern and Red-Throated Divers and Slavonian Grebe.

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Long-tailed Duck - Batsfjord_S4E3036
Long-tailed Duck
Photo by Francesco Veronesi (https://www.flickr.com/photos/francesco_veronesi/)

Eider

Eider

Then back to watch the rising tide on the estuary and to add a number of wading birds to our list.

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We next moved onto Burghead, a headland which juts out into the Moray Firth where again we had excellent views of sea-duck as well as other coastal species such as Rock Pipit.

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Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit

In the harbour we had a close encounter with a Grey Seal.

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Grey Seal

Grey Seal

Heading west again we stopped at East beach at Findhorn and got the most amazing views of a group of Velvet Scoter.

Svärta / Velvet Scoter
Velvet Scoter
Photo by Stefan Berndtsson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sbern/)

Our final coastal stop was at Nairn where we again had good views of sea-duck and added Hooded Crow to our total.

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Hooded Crow

Hooded Crow

On the way back to our base we saw a Woodcock flying over the road and stopping were treated to another couple of flight views as it completed its circuit flight.

Red Grouse [sp] (Lagopus lagopus)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Common Eider [sp] (Somateria mollissima)
Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra)
Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)
Great Northern Loon (Gavia immer)
Horned Grebe [sp] (Podiceps auritus)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Sanderling [sp] (Calidris alba)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Hooded Crow [sp] (Corvus cornix)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Yellowhammer [sp] (Emberiza citrinella)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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This mornings walk was also along the River Aln. I walked from the village to Duchess Bridge, which carries the road onto the Alnmouth penninsular and then followed the river downstream back to the village.

Duchess Bridge

Duchess Bridge

On the way to the river, a Hobby swooped low overhead. This area is the most northerly in the UK that this summer migrant falcon breeds and so this sighting was an unexpected delight as it was low enough to make out the features very clearly.

Hobby
Hobby
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Arriving at the river, there was a party of 9 Grey Herons resting on the saltmarsh.

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Also present were a pair of Mute swans and a single male Eider. I wondered if this was the samee bird I had seen yesterday but soon located a male and a female on the river so there must be a small population here.

Male Eider

Male Eider

Female Eider

Female Eider

On the far side of the river were a mixed group of Greylag and Canada Geese, along with a small party of Curlew and some Oystercatchers. A Whitethroat was singing in the riverside scrub, along with Chaffinches and Goldfinches.

In the afternoon the weather was so wonderful that I decided to go out for another walk. This time I went from the village past Alnmouth marsh to Alnmouth Common which runs north from the village alongside the beach.

Alnmouth Marsh

Alnmouth Marsh

Alnmouth Common

Alnmouth Common

Little Grebe, Tufted Duck and Blackcap were the highlights of the marsh. I saw a Long-tailed Tit return to the same bush and close inspection revealed a tail from a second bird. Was this a female sitting on a nest? The second bird certainly did not move all the time that I watched it. This also seemed a good area for Green-veined white butterflies, but none would settle long enough to be photographed.
Most of the common is now part of the Alnmouth Village Golf course and its not birds, but golf balls you have to look out for as you cross to the remnant of the common adjacent to the beach. It was quite breezy here and as a result there was little to see – I had hoped for some butterflies. I did get two quick glimpses of dark butterflies but far too quick for identification. A meadow Pipit put in a brief appearance and a pair of Sandwich Terns were fishing off shore.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Eider [sp] (Somateria mollissima)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

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Went for a walk this morning along the River Aln. I started from the mouth of the River and began to walk upstream. The tide was almost full. Shelduck are on the river together with the Gulls. An Arctic Tern flies by before starting to fish in the river. Oystercatchers are probing what is left of the mudflats looking for food.

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Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

The bankside bushes and meadows are full of birds – Blackbirds, dunnocks and House Sparrows as yesterday, but also Goldfinches, Starlings and Collared Doves.

Goldfinches

Goldfinches

Blackbird

Blackbird

As yesterday the sky is full of circling Common Swifts, House Martins and Swallows. Two land on a fence and I am surprised that when I focus on them they are in fact a pair of Sand Martins.

On the waters edge I can see a duck displaying a large amount of white plumage. It does not look right for Shelduck and as I get closer it comes into the open and I can see it is a male Eider resplendent in its white, black and apple green breeding plumage.

Eider

Eider

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Common Eider [sp] (Somateria mollissima)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Eider

Posted: March 17, 2014 in Birds, Natural History
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The Eider is the largest and heaviest of UK ducks. It is a true seaduck feeding on shellfish especially mussels and is rarely found away from Coasts. The latest estimates are that there are 27000 breeding pairs in the UK mostly around the Scottish coasts and a wintering population of around 63000 birds.

It is famed for its down feathers which can be harvested and used to fill quilts and pillows.

Male

Male

Male

Male

Male

Male

FEmale

FEmale