Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eider one way or another...

Before we get any further, I'll go ahead and give credit (/ apologize) for this post's title - I think Mark Garland threw that one out there at some point this fall during one of many pun-filled days at Cape May Point State Park.

If you made it past the title... once again, it is the season for Common Eiders to pile in to Cape May from coastal areas to the north. Last year saw unprecedented numbers of this species at Cape May Point, with up to 227 counted at one time (still lower than the high counts from New Jersey which have been recorded at the famous Barnegat Light jetty on the mid-coast). Right now, there are at least two good-sized flocks of eiders growing in the county that I know of - one at Poverty Beach/ US Coast Guard Base in Cape May (this flock has had a Harlequin Duck associated with it too!), and another at the Avalon Seawatch (7th street Avalon).

At Avalon, the eiders are mixed in with all three species of scoters, and are having a field day feeding at close range to the seawall, presumably on bottom-dwelling bivalves and crustaceans. Eiders (and several other species of seaducks) have a neat way of diving - as illustrated in the following series of photos, these ducks take a bit of an aerial start to their underwater exploits, which are executed with a combination of foot and wing propulsion and steering.

No comments: