(all photos above Ella Benninghaus)
Friday 22nd May comments: Its that time of year…Eider ducklings are on the march. Over the last few weeks Eider ducklings have been hatching across the Isle of May and gradually leaving for the nearby coastline.
Eider ducks are fabulous mothers, as successful females will troop their newly hatched young away from the nest to the Loch in the centre of the island (within 24 hours of hatching). Once there, birds will crèche as non-breeding females, failed breeders and all other mothers will group together to care for their young. Then after a few days, its time to leave. The mothers and ducklings will take for the open sea and head west for the relative safety of the nearby coastline. At just a few days old the ducklings will paddle across six miles of sea (even further in some cases) but will remain with their mothers until old enough to look after themselves.
Its an eventful start to life for the small bundles of fluff but it’s one which is repeated year-after-year. Over 1,100 female Eiders nest on the Isle of May making it one of the UK’s most important colonies. If you are on the coast in future weeks, keep your eyes peeled as you never know, you might just see some of these magnificent ducks.