Date: 1/10/19 7:08 am
From: Bob MacDonnell via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Common Eider behavior
This season I've photographed eider quite close to shore in Waterford and
New London feeding by picking small mussels and periwinkles from exposed
rocks and diving for invasive crabs within a few feet of land. They have
been increasingly frequent in eastern CT the past few years but there's
been a dramatic increase this year. Feeding on invasive crabs in shallow
water is something I noticed with increasing frequency in loons and other
wintering waterfowl, starting more than ten years ago. It would seem that
they are taking advantage of this expanding food source, bringing them very
close to shore. I've watched eider feeding on the same invasive crabs in
tidal channels like the Charlestown Breachway in RI and they might be
spreading west into Long Island Sound following this abundant food source.
These are anecdotal observations, having spent a lot of time trying to
photograph them.

Bob MacDonnell
Niantic

On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 7:29 AM Thomas Robben via CTBirds <
<ctbirds...> wrote:

> Are there any theories as to why this increase?
> I wonder if their favorite prey items are changing?
> Perhaps they are developing a taste for some invasive species, etc?
> Tom Robben
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 7:14 AM David Provencher via CTBirds <
> <ctbirds...> wrote:
>
> > To echo Glenn, we are seeing a dramatic increase in Common Eider in CT
> over
> > the last few years. The magnitude is stunning. In the 90s I saw 38 Common
> > Eider fly into the shelter of the Thames during a nasty storm. I was
> amazed
> > to see that many in CT waters. Last month while riding the New London
> ferry
> > I witnessed 1,600 in a raft off the mouth of the Thames River. This is as
> > significant an increase as one could ever imagine.
> >
> > Dave Provencher
> > Got Ibisbill? Tiger? Join me in India and Bhutan, March/April, 2019
> >
> > On Jan 10, 2019 2:35 AM, "Glenn Williams via CTBirds" <
> > <ctbirds...> wrote:
> >
> > Birders,
> >
> > Several of my observations this winter were with Andrew Dasinger, Phil
> > Rusch, and/or Scott Tsagarakis, who have been birding decades longer
> than I
> > have and expressed their surprise at this eider behavior. When I started
> > birding in the early 90's and into the 2000's, Common Eider were a review
> > species requiring a request for a write up from ARCC and most Connecticut
> > birders had seen more King Eiders in Connecticut than Common Eiders.
> >
> > I found Common Eider nests on South Dumpling Island (NY waters) in the
> > mid-2000's which was then the southern-most nesting confirmation of that
> > species. Tina Green saw downy Common Eider young in Groton within the
> past
> > few years but the tendency of this species to abandon nests and swim
> great
> > distance from the nesting area precluded Common Eider nesting
> confirmation
> > in Connecticut. I suspect that that 2019 will be the year that someone
> > will confirm proof of eider nesting in Connecticut based on the current
> > increase in their wintering and year-round population increase in the
> > state. I will be checking islands in the eastern end of the Sound this
> > spring. Past experience and research suggests nests will be on islands
> > with brush cover near the water. I have seen nests among boulders near
> the
> > shore, on soil under bushes near the shore, and slightly further back
> from
> > the water on soil, but near brush cover. The grayish-brown downy feathers
> > nests will be the only large feathered nests on coastal islands. The
> eggs
> > will be grayish olive to light brown. Look from early May on if you have
> > boat access. Islands too close to shore may be too easy for predators to
> > access and prevent nesting. South Dumpling Island is so far far out into
> > the Sound to be in NY waters and yet a coyote was observed out there
> > several years ago. Greg Hanisek has anticipated proof of eider nesting
> on
> > islands on the eastern Connecticut part of the Sound any time now. He
> > tends to be right about these things.
> >
> > Glenn Williams
> > Mystic
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA)
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> >
> _______________________________________________
> This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA)
> for the discussion of birds and birding in Connecticut.
> For subscription information visit
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>
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