Coastal and sea ducks

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The handsome shelduck, our largest duck, is present all year around the coast and sometimes on reservoirs, but many more join them in winter, along with many thousands of other ducks that come here in winter to take advantage of our mild climate and our broad shallow estuaries, heading back to their northern breeding grounds in spring.

A number of species known as sea duck visit the Essex coast in winter, and occasionally reservoirs also. Sea duck are primarily marine birds that have special glands that help them to tolerate salt water. These include eider, with their large heavy bill; the dainty long-tailed duck; the scoters; and the attractive goldeneye.

© Alan Williams