Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The King is in the Building

Sunday 13th September, Cut End, Lincolnshire, 9:30 - 12:30

Feeling much better today. I have a bit of a history, and not a positive one, when it comes to King Eider. In particular the first time I went to Shetland in 2005. A drake was seen at Collafirth, so that was the first place I tried after arriving in Lerwick, but no sign. However, I didn't realise until later on that there are TWO Collafirths and I went to wrong one. Doh. And of course, by the time I found the right one it had gone.

So with the thought of an eclipse drake King Eider at the south western edge of The Wash, at Cut End near Boston, this was too good an opportunity to miss. So off I went, along the well trodden path along the A50 and A52. I could go all "Top Gear" now, but I do actually quite enjoy the drive along the A52 from Nottingham, going through Grantham, to Boston. It's a proper road.

A few other birders were around the Cut End hide on arrival, who were onto the King Eider but very distantly. No point putting the camera on the scope today. So I waited around during the morning for the tide to come in. But it didn't seem to make any difference, the King Eider preferring to stay around green buoy 13N.

I really did need the 60x zoomed right up on my scope. The big distinguishing feature that I noticed was, when the bird stretched out I could make out a broad, white diagonal stripe from the bottom of the neck, heading towards the breast.

I made a note of this, and checking a field guide back in the car, that's exactly what an eclipse drake King Eider has, in addition to the large orange patch on the bill. I heard another birder say that when the bird stretches upright, the shape of it looks like a bit like a Penguin. That's not a bad analogy.

Then on the walk back to the car:

It's the Boston Belle heading out into The Wash, full of people armed with binoculars and cameras. It does half-day cruises from Boston, out into The Wash to look for birds and seals. They must be doing a roaring trade at the moment with the King Eider around. In fact, after doing some digging on Google, for purposes of future reference, the Boston Belle is ran by Maritime Leisure Cruises in Boston.

No comments: