9 January 2015.
Yesterday I had a brief visit at Salhus outside Bergen to see a second winter male King Eider that was found a week ago. The bird was first seen in Litlebergen in Meland municipality, but moved to Bergen municipality two days ago. This bird is the first to be seen in Hordaland county for six years. The last was the long-staying male that wintered (near Herdla) for 21 years. For Bergen this was the first since a first-winter male in December 1990. The 23rd county record.
After locating the raft of Eiders (600+ birds), it did not take too long to find the King. The flock moved back and forth between a small harbour and the fjord outside. At the harbour they were feeding on blue mussels growing on lines holding plastic floats.
The first King Eider Somateria spectabilis in Bergen for 25 years. Photographed at Salhus 9 January 2015. Part of the Eider raft inside the harbour to the right.
Two males in the flock showed obvious sails on the back. They were too far away to study bill color in the field (with binoculars), but they were photographed well. Below you can see the most outstanding of the two, with erect sails and a yellower bill than most. The bill was richer and more evenly colored than other Eiders, and most saturated towards the eyes. The pictures are heavily cropped and light enhanced.
Possible Northern Eider Somateria mollissima borealis male in Bergen, western Norway
9 January 2015.
Nothern Eiders has never been reported before in Hordaland county. These pictures might not be enough to claim a pure Northern Eider Somateria mollissima borealis, but the birds gave a nice rush in a birders frozen winter veins :-) Any comments on the subspecific ID are appreciated.