Thursday, August 7, 2014 Steller's Eider!

Seward, Alaska

Thanks to Tasha DiMarzio of the Alaska Sealife Center for spotting, recognizing, and reporting the amazing discovery of a second year male STELLER'S EIDER right here in Resurrection Bay. She and other ASLC researchers initially discovered the bird yesterday about a half mile south of the beach while doing a routine bay survey by boat.  Today, she refound the bird feeding with about dozen HARLEQUIN DUCKS just off Fourth of July beach on the east side of Resurrection Bay at the end of Nash Road.

Even though the light was dim even at midday due to the heavy cloud cover, the Eider really stood out from his companions. He was slightly larger, with a flat head compared to the round Harlequins', a longer, thicker bill, and was much lighter in color. Through the spotting scope, the varying shades of tans and browns was quite stunning.

Tasha noted that he is still molting, so he might be here until the primary flight feathers are in.

The raft of Harlequins and the Eider dove in synchrony, allowing a brief time to sneak closer before they popped up. They were wary, and paddled farther off shore when they noticed movement, but soon returned to chase small fish. The Eider swam compatibly with the Harlequins; there was no apparent problem with this visitor mingling and feeding with them.

Tasha reported November 28, 2007 was the last time a Steller's Eider, a female, was reported in Resurrection Bay. It is quite unusual; perhaps his arrival was influenced by the big storm that was moving in. Watch for this special visitor and any other wayward storm birds.
Note: If you want to stay dry, visit the Alaska Sealife Center to see and hear King Eiders up close in the bird habitat. Bring your binocs to view the Common, Spectacled, and Steller's Eiders in the outdoor enclosures. The scientists at the ASLC are doing outstanding pioneering research on Eiders.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

                                                  Not "stellar" photos of Steller's Eider.
                                                  Hi, Ann!

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