Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eider Duck and Chips

Today's Guardian Country Diary concerns a trip to Seahouses harbour, on what turned out to be a wet Sunday.

This is one of the best places I know of to watch eider ducks at close quarters because a flock always congregates in the harbour during spring courtship. Better still, they have a liking for chips, so if you chuck them a chip from your fish 'n chips they'll paddle within close camera range. The breeding plumage of the drakes is truly magnificent and their 'ah-hoooo' courtship calls charm onlookers, as well as the female ducks.

The female ducks' brown mottled plumage provides excellent camouflage when they sit amongst wrack-covered rocks at low tide, as well as famously warm insulation.

When they're afloat eider drakes are wonderfully sleek, rakish birds but there's a lot below the waterline that's rather less elegant....

.... including a portly belly, knobbly knees ....

.... and big feet, that give them the kick that they need for diving for crabs............ if there are no chips on the menu.

Click here for more pictures of eiders and their ducklings 

Click here for the excellent Farne Islands Blog, where eiders have recently begun nesting


  1. Thanks again Phil. Grand shots.

  2. Definitely my favourite ducks, Adrian...