King Eider, Steller Eider and more
The King Eider is a large sea duck that breeds along Northern Hemisphere Arctic coasts of northeast Europe, North America
and Asia. The birds spend most of the year in coastal marine ecosystems at high latitudes, and migrate to Arctic tundra to breed
in June and July. We did not see any King Eider until days, 4, 5, 6, and 7. This was breeding season, so most birds we saw were
in pairs.
The pond that the King Eiders liked so much was also near a Black Brant nest, and the male Brant did not take kindly to the
presence of the King Eider. Over the next four days, we were entertained by the Brant attacking the King Eider male whenever
the Eider got too close to the nest.
On the first day the Brant attacked the Kind Eider male viciously, forcing it to constantly go under water coming up for breath
only to be attacked again.
Fortunately for us, the King Eiders returned daily, each day straying too close to the Brant.
Still being chased on day 7.
Smaller than the Eider, the long-tailed ducks also breed in tundra pools and ponds and the male is also very attractive.
Even the long-tailed ducks got in trouble with the Brant.
The Northern Pintail is a striking duck.
There were some Green-winged Teal too.
The most prolific of the large birds was the Greater White-fronted Goose
The largest bird breeding in the tundra was the Tundra Swan.
We were also fortunate to see a pair of Steller Eider, the smallest eider and also endangered.
Greater Scalp