I made the trip up to Superior Wisconsin in hopes to see the reported rare for this region, the Common Eider. Daryl Christensen made the trip up with me for what would be a very exciting event. We arrived in Superior about 8:15 am and hit Barkers Island as the reported location that this duck had last been viewed. The small open water on each side of the bridge to the island held 4 Mallard Ducks on one side and 8 Common Goldeneyes on the other. The recent reports told of the Common Eider, female, being mixed in the very many Mallards and might be hard to locate? We left the area and traveled some of the city near the bay looking for open water. Everything was froze up. We even traveled the bridge into Minnesota in hopes to spot open water somewhere in the area from above, but had the same result, froze up. We went back to the island and a couple more ducks were present but no Common Eider. At this point we thought we may have lost the chances of seeing the Common Eider. We thought we would take a drive out of town to locate the deer carcass that had been reported on a Hwy 13 road side with a possible Black-billed Magpie. We located a carcass, watched over it for almost 30 minutes with no luck and decided maybe head back into town in hopes the Common Eider has made an appearance. Sure enough, there the Common Eider sat on the ice with approximately 40 other ducks, with some in the water. To say the least, we had two very excited birders making the day complete, each with a new life bird. A drake Northern Pintail was also in the group of ducks that had just came in and it gave nice views. We put together the ducks maybe spend the night way out in open water, during the morning hours they start returning to the small open water near the island bridge, just a thought. Thanks to the finder of this bird and all the birders that kept the continuing reports of this bird coming in. Images were taken on January 30, 2015.
Binomial name: Somateria mollissima
Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans
Size: 24” long, 38” wing span
Weight: 4.7 lbs
Great series Jim, what a great fine. Will it come downs to the
MKE area, or does it stay in that upper area?
The Northern Pintail is stunning! Great photos!
Wonderful to see these birds up close. I don’t think I will ever see an eider, so this is my way of “absorbing” the details. Great photos, and thanks for sharing them.
Thanks for sharing Jim. I’m sure I’d never pick that out of a crowd! It’s awesome to see your pictures, so up close.
Jim – the water looks icy cold. One can only imagine the rough and frigid seas in which the Eider travels – yet his expression is calm and unassuming. The Pintail on the other hand is royally gorgeous and knows it. Every feather so exquisitely arranged – colors are a stunning contrast. He’s a knock-out alright! Thanks for making the long haul up there, Jim.