Thursday, 16 January 2014

King Eider

Lots of excitement over the past few weeks as a King Eider has settled in the firth between the harbour and Whiteness head.  It differs from the Common Eider, but is often sitting among them. The King has pinkish breast and a very colourful head, dominated by a prominent orange bump art the base of its bill.

Sadly I haven't been able to get a photo worthy of the name!

The Brent Geese are here in great numbers and as usual they are nice and close along the western shoreline from Whiteness to the harbour.

Feeding in the rock pools with them today were a small number of Purple Sandpipers - another bird that is a regular winter visitor to Nairn.  Not a great pic below, but it'll give you an idea of what to look for.
So when you are looking at the Brent, keep a look out for a plumpish wader.  You may have seen it and thought it was a Turnstone (who also feed in the same area).  The Turnstone is overall a little larger has darker redder legs and a whiter belly, with a prominent dark breast and shorter bill.  The Purple Sandpiper has a orange tinge to the base of its bill.



  1. I couldn't see King Eider in the group of Eider ducks of the beach, I need to buy better binoculars. I have met a few folk who have seen it.
    Anyway today Sunday I took a run along the coast, not much at Findhorn, a flock of Mallards on the sandbar, and a lone Heron waiting patiently by the shore.
    Will I go home? No I ll go to Burghead harbour, very rough sea there today, but there they were, long tailed ducks and Eiders, in the harbour and many more out in the sea.
    They seem to like Burghhead harbour I ve seen them many times there. So not a wasted day. They were so close you didn't binoculars.

  2. Hi Zimmie. The King Eider is a fair bit out at sea and with the waves and wind is very hard to spot. Even with binoculars, the hand shake makes it difficult. As for Burghead harbour (that's a good long run!), when the tide's in it's a great place for close-up views of the Eider's. A photographer from Elgin captured a great pic of the King Eider taking off from the harbour and I managed to get a female Eider feeding. I'll post them both on a my next blog (once I get permission to use the other photographers photo).