Sunday 3 February 2013

Ducks a Dabbling

Yesterday we took a trip down to the seafront, hoping to photograph some feathered visitors to the area - Eider and Long-tailed ducks. We saw a few last month, but I never had my camera with me on the day and since then we've either been too busy or the weather too ghastly to try taking photos. Yesterday was a cold day, but not too windy, not too rainy, and the harbour was FULL of seabirds...

Here's  a close-up shot so you can see who is out there. Most of those are Eider ducks, but the big bird in the centre is a seagull and behind, to the right, are a pair of Long-tailed ducks.  There's another Long-tailed duck in the very front too. I just noticed him. The Eider duck females are brown and the males are a crisp white and black with a very tasteful pistachio-green nape. You can just make out the green on the back of their necks in the photo...

Here's a pair of Long-tailed ducks, the female, at the back, is mostly brown. You can just make out the male's long thin tail feathers in the water. 

A close-up of the male...

And another male who came paddling by...

There were two pairs quite near to where we were standing, busy diving for food. Hubby took this photo of them diving...

 There was a cormorant cruising up and down hunting fish.

He did eventually catch a big fish, but gulped it down so fast the photo is just a blur. LOL

There were lots more sea birds and ducks at the harbour entrance...

There was a very friendly couple taking photos by the harbour edge. The man kindly pointed out a rare bird that we'd have definitely overlooked without his expert eye. It was a pair of Common Scoters. They were too far out for us to get a decent photo, so I'm going to recommend that you check out the photo on the blog owned by the man who let us take a look through his scope. :-)

His name is David Slater, he has his own blog of bird and nature photographs and he also runs birdwatching tours and workshops. You'll find the photo of the Common Scoter here and more information on his bird tours, Birding Ecosse, here. 

I recommend checking out his blog, he has some lovely photos. :-)


  1. Happy you share the ducks. All but the Seagull are new to me.

    Going to check out the common scoter.

  2. Lovely photos, Michelle. I don't think I've ever seen any ducks like this. :)

  3. I've lived here for almost 6 years, but EVERY year I'm always fascinated by the difference of what snow can give ha ha...Check out my latest photos. Just uploaded some in my blog.

    I LOVE bird watching, though I know nothing about bird types. :-D

  4. Oh, forgot to say I LOVE that pistachio green colour on the males. It's just SO beautiful and refreshing to see with the white and black. God is really the best artist ever!!!

  5. Good evening Michelle, thank you for the kind words and mentioning my blog. I'm down at Burghead a lot so next time you see me please feel free to tag along for a taster freebie bird lesson! (I specialise in Beginners to intermediate birders) Burghead is a fantastic place and when I'm not on tours or workshops it is where I go to bird! Thanks again, Dave

  6. So nice of you to share your relaxing day of birdwatching and to post a link to David's site. :)

  7. Hi wild magnolia

    I'd heard of Eider ducks, but the first time I ever saw a live one was last year, along the same coast line. The others were new to me too!


    Thanks. :-) The Eiders are actually even prettier in real life, colours a bit more intense than they came out in the photos.

    Hi Amel

    Your snow photos are amazing. :-) Thanks for letting me know - I tend to forget to check blogs lately.

    Get a good bird book. It really does help. My parents did that when we moved to South Africa and each time we saw a new bird we'd tick it in the book, put the date. I still have the book and now I have one of European and British birds. ih... I haven't ticked the ducks yet! Gotta do that. ;-)

    And yes, the pistachio green colour
    just makes such a difference to their colouring. :-)

    Hi Dave

    Thanks for the very kind offer. I'll certainly stop and say Hi if we see you around Burghead, but at this time of the year my African-born skin says a very firm "No way!" to prolonged outdoor activities! ;-D

    Hi Em

    It was too darn cold to be relaxing! LOL ..but it was exciting and very enjoyable. :-) Go look at Dave's photos - he's got some really nice clear shots of the Eider ducks.

  8. Oh, that's a GREAT idea...though I prefer not knowing for some weird reason. Just being able to take good pics of them gives me so much pleasure. To be able to view them in their natural habitat...because one can't do it in the big cities in Indo...



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