Eider Ducks are called Dunters in Orkney. There are great floats of them off the coast. The males have done their job of attracting females with their exotic plumage, and have retreated to grow a new set of inconspicuous feathers.
Dunters are under-appreciated birds because they simply look like silhouettes. They’re a sea-duck on the waves.
The females have been busy escorting their ducklings along the coasts while they feed. Here’s what looks like a mother and four chicks:
They dive easily and have such strong beaks that they can easily eat crab. Here’s a classic ‘Up periscope’ pose:
It’s only when you get close, like we did on the water between Papa Westray and the Holm of Papay, where the white shell sand and shallow water make the sea an intense turquoise, that you see their beauty and elegance:
That’s one mighty-fine duck.