[Tweeters] Re: Common Eider Subspecies?

cariddellwa at gmail.com cariddellwa at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 17:54:52 PST 2017

I would not focus on plumage color in the Spencer photos. I don’t know if she edited hers, but I had to enhance mine with editing software so that the plumage could be seen. When editing a photo, it is easy to change the hue, intentionally or inadvertently. It was quite dark yesterday afternoon and the Spencer photos were taken later than were mine. While looking at the eider by scope, the plumage did not appear to be rufous. It looked consistent with a bird from the West Arctic group.

Carol Riddell

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com  <mailto:tweeters%40u.washington.edu?Subject=%5BTweeters%5D%20Common%20Eider%20Subspecies%3F&In-Reply-To=>
Tue Jan 10 00:30:16 PST 2017
Hello Tweets,

I was looking at the photos taken today by Meghin Spencer of the Common Eider at Purdy Spit, and I was struck by how rufous the bird's plumage appeared - almost like the Atlantic Ocean subspecies "dresseri". A quick Google inquiry of more "dresseri" photos, comparing both plumage coloration and head/bill proportions, seemed to support my suspicion. I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of other observers and perhaps of those with more experience with Common Eider subspecies.

It is worth noting that the Pacific Coast has one previous accepted "dresseri" record, of a female in November 2011 at Crescent City, CA. As noted previously on Tweeters by Ryan Merrill, the Common Eider female seen at Hayton Reserve on Fir Island back in October was an escaped female "dresseri" from a nearby waterfowl collection. With both of these occurrences in mind (and not necessarily resting any bias on either), it will be interesting to confirm the subspecies of this Pierce Co. bird one way or another!

Good birding, Joshua Glant
Mercer Island, WA

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