Bird Island and (un)Common Eider

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Many birds in one place, that’s Bird Island.

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Great Blue Heron gets in Brown Pelican’s space.

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Pelican relocates.

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So many birds to watch. Counting them is hard, but we did it on Friday – me with binoculars and camera, husband piloting a small center-console boat from our boat club. I called out species and numbers and he tallied them on a notepad where I had already written names of birds we were likely to see.

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I submitted an eBird checklist next morning: LINK

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Pelican chick and parent.

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Counting nesting Wood Storks and Brown Pelicans is like counting stars in the sky.

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Cormorant fishing.

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Rock jetties built on either side of the north end of the island help keep it from eroding, I believe.

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Great Blue.

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A couple of juvenile Magnificent Frigatebirds were over in the pelican section of the mangroves.

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Nearby, adult male frigatebirds were roosting. A couple looked like they had crash-landed, but I suppose they were sunning.

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Just around the bend we found the bird we were looking for: a Common Eider!

We had seen this bird the day before while boating with friends. I recognized it from when we lived in New Hampshire, where they were common along the coast.

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Common Eiders are very Uncommon in Florida. eBird shows just a few sightings a year.

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A colorful duck of the northern seacoasts, the Common Eider is the largest duck in the Northern Hemisphere.

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This looks like a non-breeding male: ID photos.

What motivated this bird to visit Florida in March? Was it caught in a storm?

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Coming back around the northwest corner of the island, the GBH was still there.

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A new male frigatebird arrived on the scene.

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The juveniles took off.

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They flew around, seeming reluctant to land while the adult male was circling.

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Soon there were three juveniles in the air.

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Watching frigatebirds soar is like watching kites without strings, flying themselves.

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As we rounded the southern end of the island, we saw the eider duck bobbing on the waters of the Indian River Lagoon.

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Last time I blogged eiders was June 2016 in New Hampshire, when I photographed females and ducklings: Pop up ducks. And in March of 2016 when I watched a male Common Eider as well as a Common Loon and a Snowy Owl: Drive-by coastal birding.

1 thought on “Bird Island and (un)Common Eider

  1. tovlitoda

    Wow, how fun. My wife and I rescued an adult brown pelican at John Prince Park yesterday that was unable to fly. Later we were thinking how wonderful it would be to see a pelican nest. Thanks for answering our wish.

    Like

    Reply

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