When to see
The Common Eider, or Eider as it is more usually called, starts to arrive offshore in early autumn. Peak numbers tend to be seen in January-February before numbers drop off in spring as the birds return to their breeding grounds.
Where to see
Eiders are a sea duck and are gregarious by nature. They often gather in tightly packed rafts and can be seen in Burghead Bay from Findhorn beach during the winter months. One of the common locations is on the sea at the moth of Findhorn Bay where there are extensive mussel banks which they feed on. Some will also come into the northern end of the Bay. Elsewhere, they are a common sight off Roseisle Forest and further along the coast at Burghead.
Most of the Eider we see are birds that breed in NW Europe and are likely to be from the subspecies mollissima. However, a few show signs of being from the Arctic subspecies borealis, which have small “sails” on the lower back. When looking through the rafts of Eiders it is also worth checking for King Eider as a male has been seen regularly for the last few winters, particularly off Burghead.
Return to bird life.