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Common Eider - Ærfugl - Somateria mollisima
Ejder - Ederfugl - Haahka - Eiderente

Male Common Eider - Ærfugl
Male Common Eider, Øygarden, September 2008



Common Eider - female
Female Common Eider, Seahouses, Northumberland, July 2007

Common Eider duckling
Common Eider duckling, Seahouses, Northumberland, July 2007

Eider ducklings swim over from their breeding grounds on the Farne Islands to the beaches at Bamburgh and Seahouses where they often fall prey to tourists and their dogs. The reason they make this dangerous journey is the numerous small streams that run out onto the beaches - this species loves fresh water. When I lived in the area one of the commonest "bird emergencies" we responded to was catching and relocating "lost" Eider ducklings. Fortunately the communal nature of Eider "kindergartens" or creches meant that this became a fairly straightforward task - as long as a creche of the correct age group could be found.


Common Eider eclipse
Male Common Eider, Seahouses, Northumberland, July 2007

One of the commonest questions asked by less experienced birding visitors to the area was "what are those strange duck - they're not in my book?" Invariably it was male Eiders such as illustrated above moulting into thier breeding plumage.

One odd local behaviour in Seahouses harbour is that the Eiders readily come to tourists who feed them bread. Normally this species eats crabs and shellfish.



For more information on birding Northumberland see this link.




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