Thursday, 23 June 2016

A trip with my Olympus

Well I have part exchanged my Canon gear for Olympus due to a number of reasons for richer or poorer time will tell.
I made my way to Maple Lodge after some thought and found it mid summer overgrown and poor visibility.
Arrived at Long hedge hide after visiting Teal hide which was quiet except for a party of mixed ducks.
Cormorants were hunting in a pack like wolves or pike shoaling the fish up
A nesting Great crested Grebe was doing the rounds looking for fish too.
Soon a Mute swan with two cygnets obliged only one in photo.
All this was surpassed by the ubiquitous  Black headed gulls.
Finally leaving the reserve a number of young rabbits looked appetizing for our ever increasing predators.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Farewell to Iceland once more

Got up around 430 hrs a cup of tea packed the vechile and we were off,just ouside Grundafjiordur  we said goodbye to Haforn  the sea eagle.
As we were driving along Trausti explained the Icelandic Saga of Snorri the
The Berserkers,one of which was infatuated with the farmers daughter,leading to the deaths of both Berserkers in a sauna.
Numbers of Whooper swans and pale bellied Brent on route and more
Ptarmigan coming in to summer plumage.

Arctic Skuas copulating was eclipsed by an Arctic Fox photographed by
Anna was the icing on the cake.
Alas once again no Gyr falcon for yours truly perhaps next time.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Olafsvik to Rif and Auks and Orcas

Leaving Grundafjordur another white tailed sea eagle obliged along with Harlequinn ducks as we crossed the river at Tunguos.
Moving on to Olafsvik we were spoilt for choice a variety of waders mostly
Knots and on the other side of the road  a pair of Red throated divers were absolutely splendid
The town of Rif held more waders as we walked along territorial Oystercatchers and nesting Eider gave good views.
On the other side of the road at Rif Red necked Phalaropes or Odins chickens were within touching distance.

It was now time to look for Auks and Saxholsbjarg cliffs fitted the bill here Brunnichs Common Guillemots along with Razorbills and Puffins a few showed well.
The Brunnichs were superb but were soon upstaged out at sea.

by a large pod of Orcas ie Killer Whales and on the horizon numbers of Sperm whales spouting and fluking.
Reluctantly on to  Arnastapi for nesting Kittiwakes in the blow holes was good for the photographers.
The run home passed  Lysa for Pintail not a hybrid this time and at Hoftun distant Slav grebes and divers finally back in Grundafjordur Haforn the sea eagle once more.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Alftanes via Hvalfjordur to Grundafjordur

Arriving in Alftanes the home of the president of Iceland here were a number of waders obliged along with Gadwall and good numbers of
Brent Geese.
Amongst the Brent  geese  there were2 dark bellied bernicla bernicla.
A student and the Irish Brent Goose Association were checking rings.
We stopped in Reykjavik briefly too look at the pond and its ducks and gulls.
Driving around Hvalfjordur we stopped for lunch and photographed a sheep pen and a waterfall. Next up Borgarfjordur here a number of Shelducks here.

Finally at the Berserkjahraun valley a White tailed sea eagle obiged an adult showing its white tail.
Further on 3 more birds obliged a single immature plus a pair.
We arrived at Hotel Framnes in Grundafjordur after a great day

Hveragerdir to Grundafjordur

We headed towards Reykjavik for the local ponds and reservoir,on the way
we passed Hellisheidi where I photographed a more summer plumaged Ptarmigan.
At Ellidavatn a pair of Great Northern Divers swam under the bridge.
The Merganisers sat in the early morning sun while I chatted to the fly fisherman as black flies pestered us.
We left through an area with a profusion of conifers before arriving at
Vifilsstadvatn where a pair of Slavonian grebes entertained us.
Before leaving some Arctic terns provided very close views for Ken and I.

Trolls Geysirs and waterfalls and waders

This is part of the previous blog continued,we headed to Geysir where we saw our first and only troll of the trip.
On the other side of the road Strokkur burst in to life here on our brief
comfort stop.
Next up Godafoss falls was exceptional in the sunshine in June 1983 it was raining here.

Our final port of call was Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki where a variety of waders were on show

Good views here of Purple sandpiper a hard bird to see in Britain and  summer plumaged Knot and Dunlin.
These wader gave exceptional views before returning to Hveragerdi.

Thingvellir divers ducks and scenery

Left Hveragerdi around 0930hrs our first stop along the road was for a splendid male Ptarmigan in winter plumage on the slopes of Ingolfsjall.
Showing its red mark above its eye we stalked him? to get some good photographs.
This was wild country with rugged scenery as we had views of distant Harlequinns below on the River Sog.
We drove along the valley all the way to Ljosafoss dam where we
photographed more Harlequinns resting on a pipe.
Along with Barrows Goldeneye and Scaup also Red breasted Mergansers.
On the grassy banks meadow pipit white wagtail and redwing obliged.
The meadow pipit posed nicely before leaving for Thingvellir.
Here we entered the National Park where the Viking Parliament was formed
called the Allthing,we viewed lava flow fissures ,too many tourists here now I camped here in 1983 and saw no one except a Merlins nest.
Still a wonderfull place to visit we found a Wood mouse in the grass and Redwing so close too touch.
As we moved towards the lake a pool held Red Throated Divers very close even copulating near there nest site.
At lunch we sat on the lake shore watching a fairly distant pair of Great
Northern Divers and a peculiar hybrid Pintail the pinmale dubbed by us.
However the scenery here was astounding as the divers called while finishing lunch.
We bid Thingvallavatn farewell as we headed for Geysir and the legendary Strokkur.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Hveragerdir to Sejalands Foss and more

Woke up early as the light is almost perpetual,a Raven barked over the hotel.
Blackbirds were singing and collecting worms for young the peace and serenity of the village here at Hveragerdi meant I could hear Redshank and
snipe calling along with Redwing all before breakfast.
We set off after breakfast passing through Selfoss and our first stop was Sejalands Foss at just over 60 metres high surrounded by cliffs and breeding Fulmar.
It was here we saw the sub species of Iceland wren singing high above the waterfall,nearby lies Gljufrabui waterfall as it tumbles down fom its source river just north of Trollagill (Troll Gorge).
Our next stop for lunch was Mydalur where we photographed Great and Arctic skuas.

On to the bird colonies at Reynisfjara with its huge basalt cliffs,its
columns rising vertically as the new breed of selfies climbed all over
them rather spoilt these magnificent monolithic monuments of nature.
Skogafoss held a splendid pair of Harlequinns along with Oystercatcher.
The Glacier at Solhiema jokull was birdless but impressive,on route to Dyrholaey territorial black tailed godwits obliged,arrived at Dyrholaey provided better views of puffins and at Markafljot and its river Red throated divers.