Saturday, 28 June 2014

Follow the Icelandic Footprints.

One final shot from Borgarnes in Western Iceland as I will be back on the Isle of Purbeck again tomorrow.
This has been a superb week for me and I hope I haven't bored you too much with my holiday snaps.
There are a few things that I have discovered:
1. Iceland is a wonderful country with wonderful people.
2. You need a car, preferably a 4x4 and a good map.
3. It is bigger than you think.
4. It is also smaller than you think (so work that out!)
5. I need a better landscape lens.
So, I'll sign off from Iceland and normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

The Eagles of Westfjords

White-tailed Eagles are pretty rare in Iceland and their whereabouts are strictly guarded. There are guided tours that can take you to the areas where they are known to be, but as with any nature tour, there is no guarantee. I was very pleased then to spot what I thought was a single eagle, from the road whilst driving to Latrabjarg. When I spotted the second and realised that this was a pair, I was even happier. To then realise that they had a nest and i could clearly see two chicks, well, you can imagine.
These are superb birds to watch and, although they were quite far away and I did not attempt to get closer, it was a real privilege to see them.
The light was changing by the second and I have had to crop these quite a bit, but I am very happy with the results.

The Long Road to Latrabjarg

The pull of the Puffin is strong! Strong enough to make me leave the house at 6 o'clock and drive some 350km, half of which is rough gravel roads, to the western most part of Iceland. Latrabjarg though is worth it, not just for the millions of sea birds that live there but also for the views you get whilst driving what are some of the most difficult roads I have ever been on.
Six hours and some breath-holding moments later, (these tend to happen when the rough road you are on has a 200m sheer drop on your side and a lorry is coming the other way) I arrive at Latrabjarg. It is easy to forget that the people who live in this remote area still need supplies and a lot of these come by road.
Regardless of all this, the road that ribbons its way around inlet after inlet is wonderful. Every turn gives a different view and each view is incredible.
I arrived at Latrabjarg as the Sun was breaking through the clouds and left when it became hidden again. Time enough to enjoy the spectacle and time enough to take the photographs that I wanted to. Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, many other species of gull and a few Arctic Skuas were always visible but it was the Puffins that I had come to see and I was not disappointed.
Latrabjarg - 14km long and up to 400m high.






Thursday, 26 June 2014

Birth of a Geyser

Iceland is well known for its volatile geothermal activity. In other words, bits of the island keep exploding and everyone gets covered in lava, ash or water.
Geysir is the best place to witness the water bit!  The name of the original 'Geysir' is now used world wide and although it doesn't erupt often, another one very close by is called Strokker and blows its top every 5 - 10 minutes. This is great fun because you get a chance to really go to town on the photographs.









Wednesday, 25 June 2014

From Land to Sea

After the incredible encounter with Orca out at sea it was a real treat to be able to watch them from the shore. Whilst walking around the headland at Ondervandarnes we could see a small pod of three or for Orca, females this time, with a youngster. As this was happening, just a few feet from us, a very bored looking Grey Seal boobed up and down on the tide.
Later in the day, as the clouds thickened, a walk to Ytri Tunga (a well known Seal hot spot) brought us close to a group of Common Seals. At least eight were either swimming or relaxing on the rocks.
 
Orca

Grey Seal
Common Seal

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Orca!

Watching Orca in the wild has been a dream of mine for years and so you can imagine how I felt when I managed to photograph a pod of about nine animals.
The weather was perfect and we managed to spend about an hour with them before we moved on.
First Contact
Mother and Calf
Sometimes you have to remember to put the camera down and just watch! This Orca came within 3-4m of us and dived under the boat. I was impressed also by the sensitive way the skipper positioned his boat so as not to disturb the animals.

Follow the Icelandic Footprints

I am in Iceland for a week, taking full advantage of the almost 24 hours of daylight and so I thought I would share some photographs of this incredible place. I won't go waffling on about the places I visit, but will be spending most of my time in the north west region of the island. Here, it is all volcanoes, lava fields, broad open plains and the sea. Lots to point the camera at.
Borgarnes - Base Camp
Brogarnes
Hafnarfjall - the view from the village.
Black-tailed Godwit
Eider Family

Saturday, 21 June 2014

More Time With Mrs Fox

More beautiful evenings means more time out and about and that in turn means more time with the Foxes.
Once I find them I find it very difficult to leave.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Splitting Hares

There were two Hares for me to watch last night, both nice and healthy, and both extremely active.
They were easier to photograph though when they separated and concentrated on dinner.
I can spend far too long taking photographs of these, just being closed is a real bonus.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Changeable Weather

It seems that we have just about all kinds of weather these days. Bright blue skies for a while, then rain, then boring grey clouds.
Blue skies are ok, but I prefer a few moody dark clouds in there somewhere. I think that Corfe Castle looks even better with a 'good' sky.

Time for the Kestrel

We are lucky here on the Isle of Purbeck to have a regular breeding pair of Kestrels and this year triplets have fledged and are learning th...