Sea ducks

By Steve Garvie from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland (Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
Sea duck numbers are taking a dive.

Eider, common scoters, velvet scoters and long tailed ducks are all sea ducks.

Eiders are with us all year on the Forth but  the other species are mainly in our coastal waters in winter.

I was shocked to see recent reports of the decline in velvet scoters and long tailed ducks.

Eiders and red breasted mergansers seem to have suffered big declines too.

The declines in seabirds – including kittiwakes, one of my favourites – are similarly bleak.

It is pretty worrying to lose so many of these birds that make our local coastline so special – and it seems the causes are still unclear.

“More research needed” as researchers like to say.