Friday, 17 May 2013

38. Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri)

The Steller's Eider is a true Arctic duck, breeding in parts of Alaska and Russia, and is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to rapid declines in its Alaskan population. Part of the Russian population winters around Varanger and I feel very privileged to have seen these amazing ducks whilst at Gullfest.

Steller's Eider, ©Tormod Amundsen/Biotope.
Steller's Eider sketch.
Time for another drawing of a bird in flight today. I've made him a bit fat and misjudged the amount of space available for wings, oh well! Think I've got the wing length more in proportion to the body at least compared to previous attempts.

Here are some more of my Gullfest photos with a Steller's Eider theme!

I was walking down Kaigata in Vardø on the first full day of Gullfest starting to think about lunch (which happens a lot) when I bumped into Ian Lewington, who told me there was a Steller's Eider in the harbour, only a few metres out! As I had never seen a Steller's before I shot down there pretty quicksharp.

My first ever Steller's Eider, just metres away in Vardø harbour! Thanks Ian!
Another one from the King Eider vortex:

The King Eider vortex - spot the Steller's.
One of the best places to see Steller's Eider was the beautiful and slightly desolate Kiberg harbour, which was a short drive westward from Vardø along the Varanger peninsula:

Kiberg harbour.
Kiberg harbour.
Raft of Steller's Eider in Kiberg harbour.
Amazing light at Kiberg harbour.
Now whenever I think of King and Steller's Eiders, they are synonymous in my head with Vardø and Varanger. It's no surprise that Destination Varanger have made the very special and iconic Steller's Eider into their logo:

They should make badges of this. I would totally buy one.

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