Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Eider.

I've left this post in tact as I had finished it as a draft last night and have decided to post it unedited. However, it appears there are some interesting developments regarding the Eider in our area and I have seen two excellent records including ducklings, one of which was off Morecambe Promenade, but by far the best is this one HERE  

Eider David Cookson  

A photograph with class of the Eider....Many thanks DC.

It was a real pleasure to find sixteen downy Eider off and eventually on Plover Scar at Cockersands last Monday 9 June, an exceptional record because the Eider as a breeder in Lancashire is an unknown quantity, the first breeding attempt was at Banks Marsh in 1984 when a female was seen incubating.

In the Lancaster and District recording area two broods were recorded - void of numbers - on the Lune Estuary in 2011. Pairs noted in the Sunderland Point area since the 1990's may appear to suggest breeding but this area has no suitable habitat and it has never been proved. Breeding did finally become established in 2000 when a pair nested successfully on Carnforth Marsh, but today the Eider goes nowhere beyond being a scarce breeder in the County of Lancashire, though the Second Breeding Alas produced c.31,000 pairs in GB making the Eider our second commonest breeding duck after the Mallard.

Historically the Eider was a rare vagrant prior to the colonisation of Walney Island in 1949 which was then in the County of Lancashire, now Cumbria. Prior to this their rare occurrence was linked to storms and Oakes noted only two records of single birds both on the Alt Estuary in September 1938 and 1939.  


This year so far doesn't look like being any improvement on the disastrous year of 2012 for the butterfly. I've personally seen nothing yet of any note other than the 'whites', and the weather forecast I just saw doesn't hold much hope for the next few days. But I know a man in the south of the country who's been out on the hunt in Kent.

Heath Fritillary Marc Heath

Marc went in search of one of our rarest butterflies the Heath Fritillary but even with much determination only found it at the caterpillar stage, but the count of caterpillars was an excellent 100+....Looks like Heath Fritillary butterflies in good number in Kent soon.

Duke of Burgundy Marc Heath  

But Duke of Burgundy butterflies already seen by this butterfly hunter. Three excellent images Marc....Many Thanks.

And, apologies for the poor picture quality, but does it give any clues anyone please....

Taken on the causeway to the Public Hide at Leighton Moss last Sunday.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING....But haven't been since last Monday unfortunately, but hopefully will be tomorrow.


Marc Heath said...

Saw1 pristine Heath Fritillary butterfly yday at nearby Thornden Woods. They are just about to appear i would imagine.

Noushka said...

The Eider is certainly one bird I would love to photograph!
It is absolutely stunning, I envy you to have the opportunity to see them!
Your caterpillar is probably Arctia caja, the Garden Tiger moth, see here:
or here:
<a href=">L'Ecaille martre</a>
Great post, Pete, cheers!

Noushka said...

Sorry, the link doesn't want to work but you can find it on my blog if you enter L'Ecaille martre in the search, right column.

Adam said...

never seen that kind of bird before

Warren Baker said...

Butterflies are a rarity here now Pete, the weather and loss of habitat has hit them hard on my patch :-(

Findlay Wilde said...

We were really lucky to see 2 male Eiders in Whitby Harbour at Easter. From findlay

Pete Woodruff said...

Marc....Good news re the pristine Heath Fritillary in Thornden Woods.

Noushka....Very interesting your suggestion that the caterpillar is that of the Garden Tiger moth, I'm looking into that with further interest, it appears to be in serious decline in the UK.

Adam....Glad the Eider is your first.

Warren....Grim that you have to refer to butterflies as 'rare', but that's obviously the reality.

Findlay....Good to hear you saw the two Eider in Whitby Harbour.

Thanks to all for your interest and comments.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Peter in Spain we have a plague of moths African .. They are very nice .. Beautiful pictures as always and greetings.