Lyme’s lone eider duck a familiar face at the Cobb

The lone eider duck has been regularly spotted around Lyme Regis harbour for the past four years (photos by Richard Austin)

MYSTERY surrounds the four-year presence of a male eider duck who has set up home in Lyme Regis.

The bird was first noticed when it was still in his black immature feathers but over the past few years he has evolved into a spectacular young male in full coloured plumage.

Lyme Regis boatman Harry May feeding the eider duck

Lyme Regis boatman Harry May said: “He has become a bit of a celebrity, and most mornings he is waiting by my boat where I give him special snacks for wild ducks which has all the vital ingredients required for a healthy duck.”

The eider is a large sea duck, famed for its soft, downy feathers that are not only used by the bird to line and insulate its nest, but also by humans to stuff our quilts and pillows. They usually nest around the northern coastline of the UK.

The eider duck is characterised by its wedge-shaped bill and bulky shape. Males have a black and white plumage with a beautiful pale green patch at the back of the head, pinkish breast and pale yellow-grey bill.

Bird enthusiasts are baffled as to why he remains a loner in the south; in the summer he should be 1,000 miles north with flocks of his own kind and it wouldn’t take him long to get there – the eider duck is the fastest flying duck reaching speeds of up to 70mph.

The eider is the UK’s heaviest duck. It is a true sea duck, rarely found away from coasts where its dependence on coastal molluscs for food has brought it into conflict with mussel farmers.

The eider duck with a young seagull in the harbour
Woodmead Halls

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