Date: 12/2/18 4:05 pm From: Christopher Hill (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Re: More on Common Eider
Birds of North Carolina is such a great resource, and I learned something just now. I’m used to the current situation, with Common Eider way more common than King. I didn’t know that a (human) generation or two ago their roles were flipped. The same is true of the whistling ducks - Black-bellied is the common one now, but fifty years ago it was Fulvous that was commoner and Black-bellied rarer.
I have downloaded and examined my eider photos from Fort Fisher this afternoon. They are not great, but not quite as bad as I had feared, and IMO they confirm my initial ID as Common Eider. I was able to see quite bit of head detaik, including a long grey bill extension up in front of the eye (too long for King, and consistent with Atlantic Common, per Sibley's illustrations. The photos also confirm the white axillaries, and show a head shape that is kind of long for King.
Two questions: 1. How regular/rare are eiders in the Carolinas?, and 2. Are there good online references that will allow me to answer questions like this myself?