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Monday, August 20, 2007

Eiders, Acadia National Park

We continued on the drive through Acadia National Park and found some Common Eiders in the water below the rocky cliffs. This is a male Common Eider who is molting his primary feathers, so his wings look short.

We stopped and got out on the rocks with Phoebe to search for the eiders. The park is very dog friendly and we saw lots of other hikers and park visitors with dogs. We kept Phoebe on leash and away from the edge. She does dog agility so walking around on rocks doesn't phase her, she enjoys it.

Phoebe's eye view of the water below, where the eiders were.

I decided to try and get down to the eiders, so we put Phoebe in the car,

and veeery carefully climbed down the cliff,

closer to eider level. I steadied my camera on my leg and took lots of photos.

It was so wonderful to be there, down in the eider's world. It always amazes me how this rocky, cold, water world is home to eiders. Their dense feathers totally protect then from the icy water.

I like this shot, where the water just envelops this eider's back like a sheet and rolls off. His feather's are so waterproof.

Here's another view, where you can see slight spotting on his breast, which can be indicative of an adult male Common Eider in eclipse plumage.

The crashing waves and cold waters would be very dangerous for us to swim in,

but the eiders just laze away on the seaweed covered rocks.

In this area we saw mostly male eiders in non-breeding plumage and a few females. Spending some time appreciating them, listening to the crashing waves and smelling the salt air, made us feel so refreshed and relaxed. It was our favorite part of the trip.

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007


LNMP said...

We are heading up to Bar Harbor for a few days at the end of September, so this is a nice preview! Acadia National Park is one of my favorite places. Hopefully the hawk watch will still be active.

tai haku said...

literally water off a duck's back! Great shots.