The Ythan Estuary in the North East of Scotland boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna and is home to the country's largest population of Eider ducks with some 5,000 gathering in summer to nest.
The estuary's mud flats are a wealth of marine life - just one square meter can hold over 10,000 tiny worms, shrimps and snails. These mini creatures provide a fastfood outlet for birds, many of whom stop off to refuel on their long journeys south for winter or north for summer. Wintering wildfowl also spend part of the year here, with more than 20,000 geese gathering near the estuary and feeding on neighboring farmland. Among the estuaries summer visitors are four species of tern - sandwich, common, arctic and little tern.
The river mouth in winter has plenty to offer by way of duck species such as Scaup, Long-tailed Duck and Red-breasted Merganser. Common and Velvet Scoter have been seen in recent years and the odd Guillemot and Razorbill seeks shelter from offshore. Among the sand dunes nearby, flocks of up to 200 Snow Buntings forage in winter. In all, over 225 species of bird have been recorded on this site.
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