Day 20 of 30 Days Wild is looking at the Eider ducks at Forvie National Nature Reserve, just outside Newburgh in Aberdeenshire.
Forvie Nature Reserve is where you will find the largest breeding colony of Eider ducks in the UK. Up to around 6,000 birds come to breed in the summer and around 1,000 stay in winter. Eider ducks are currently listed on the RSPB in the Amber list.
A favourite of the Eider’s diet are mussels. They swallow them whole and crunch them up in their gizzard and excrete the shells. No wonder they love the Scottish coast!
During April – August when the birds are nesting certain areas are cordoned off to protect them. The reason for this is because the Eider’s like to nest in the grass or heather. However the spot they choose can really be anywhere, so in order to protect them visitors are asked to keep to the paths and be careful.
As you make your way along the path information has been displayed to help educate visitors more about the Eider’s. This includes useful facts and samples of their eggs.
Unfortunately as you can see from the photo above numbers of the Eider ducklings have dropped dramatically since 2003, with small peaks and troughs since then.
Thanks to the staff and volunteers at Forvie, hopefully the measures they are taking will help to increase the success of the Eider ducklings. As long as people stick to paths and keep their dogs under tight control fingers crossed our Eider ducklings will have a better chance of survival which will help increase the Eider population in Forvie.
(All photographs were taken by Camilla-Erika Campbell)