This is a rushed blog posting. After a weekend with a large flock of eiders off Cape Spear I had intended a thorough post about Newfoundland eiders. But another species of duck found in Renews today has sapped all my energy. Word didn't get out until it was too late to go for it today but we will be there before dawn in the morning for what should turn out to be the first bona fide Common Shelduck for North America. Big blog with photos tomorrow hopefully (never count your photos before you push the trigger).
A spring flock of some 5000 Common Eiders assembled on and off at Cape Spear over this past weekend. Photo opts were there if you planned it right and were lucky. I planned it right but was only partly lucky. No birds fed on the water near my position hidden in the rocks but the fly bys were excellent even in the heavy overcast light. Below are some of the photos. I had only gotten through half of the hundreds taken before this blog posting.
A fraction of the five thousand eiders present off Cape Spear. The Common Eiders were virtually all of the race borealis. There were King Eiders scattered thinly throughout the flocks. Can you spot the adult drake King here?
The trigger finger starts to quiver as a company of ducks starts to come your way.
Some samples (one above and three photos below) of cropped blocks of borealis Common Eiders in the flocks flying close past my position hidden in a rock crevice. Note then thin yellow fleshy lobes of the bill running into the feathers of the forehead of borealis. Borealis nest in the Arctic and south to the mid Labrador coast. The lobes are greener and much wider on the more southern subspecies dresseri which breeds from the mid Labrador coast south to Nova Scotia.
King Eiders are the jewels in the rough. You almost need a spotter so you know where to point the camera in the flocks as the fly by at high speed. Can you see the female King?