Sunday, September 20, 2015

Land of Ice, Fire ........ Cloud and Rain - North-East 3

Not all our photography was of water birds.  Landscape opportunities were fairly limited, not least because being on a group trip means you need to fit in with the others, so you can't just stop the vehicle when you get the whim!  I did take a few snaps, but they were no more than that - one of the many Icelandic ponies, and two hills - the front one with the top blown off - a reminder that the landscape can go bang here.
Looking towards Lake Myvatn from where we were staying there was a strip of rough ground separating us from the road around Myvatn.  On the days I woke early - most of them - I wandered out to see what was around the village.  In that rough ground there were some rather accommodating snipe.  With a bit of patience they would not only stop moving away but actually came to have a look at you.  The headshot below is full frame on a full frame camera.

Everyone was trying to get a snap of a snipe 'on a post' but apparently this didn't count.

Other birds around the village were golden plover

this arctic redpoll

and many thrushes.  In Finland last year the local thrush species was the fieldfare.  Here it was redwings.

One pair obviously had a nest near the road and defended it like skuas - here about to launch a headbombing flight.

The birds food seemed to consist in large part of the large midges that give Myvatn it's name.

Ptarmigan were found both around the village and further afield - still quite handsome, but sadly not in their pure white coat.

There were quite a few black tailed godwits around, and again I came across one that was confiding enough to supply a headshot - I don't think it had come to see me as it was actively feeding, but it was just as unconcerned by my presence as the snipe.

Whimbrel were a bit more wary.  In the second shot you can see the fanned tail which led us to realise we must be near a nest or young, so we retreated

One evening as we were driving through a lava field (think of those pictures from earthquake zones where the tarmac roads have twisted and buckled and you get some idea of the topography) I was convinced I had seen a white owl - a fleeting view but that was the 'jiz'.  The one other person who saw it shared my impression, but others were sceptical even though we were not meaning snowy owl.  However one day as we were driving Steve called for a halt and on retracing our steps we came across what was all too obviously a short eared owl - and look how pale.

We moved on from Reykjalid  to our next destination - the fabulous Jokulsarlon.  I'd enjoyed Myvatn and the potential in good light was all too evident in the few hours we had.  It would be a relief though to be able to have a shower without the smell of sulphur.  In Reykjalid the hot water and heating run on the heat from the ground.  As you leave the village there is a thermal 'power station', and a bit further down the road the very hillsides smoke with steam mixed with fumarole gas. 

A couple of rare pics of me, using the pocket camera to shoot the boiling mud pools at Namafjall Hevrir.

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