Saturday, 28 May 2016

Iceland May 2016 Part 7 A case of the bends.

Wednesday, Day 4.
We had planned to take the journey north, past Husavik, around the Tjornes peninsula, past the flatlands and marshes of the river delta at Kelduhverfi, maybe as far as Kopasker and beyond.
We didn't even get as far as Husavik, a mere 15 minute drive north!
We were struck down with a case of the diver's bends.
Only we weren't in the water.
Still in contact with Richard Steel via messaging, we had told him our intention of travelling north in the hope of finding a lake hosting a Great Northern Diver. He told us to check out the smaller lake south of Husavik so when we drove roadside along side one we stopped to look.
Nothing at first, but I asked Mike who was driving to just hang on a second just to make sure that there wasn't anything under the water.
There was.
A pair of G.N.D's.
Hearts beating faster ( yes, I know , bit sad isn't it but if that what rocks our boat so be it) we had no option but to abandon the car right there on the road. Not the done thing it seems judging by disapproving passing vehicles who honk their horns but we were not parked in a dangerous spot, we were acting as a traffic calmer!
Talking of calm we tried to remain so as best we could be under the circumstances as we got our gear together.
"Let's grab a record shot before they disappear" said Mike
"Good idea!" I replied.
We had to drop down the raised bank the road was built on and cross the scrub to a wire fence.
Not sure if we were entering private property we took a chance we weren't trespassing.
"Take a left" I said to Mike. The fence was very low there and there wasn't any barbed wire.
He went right and risked emasculation.
I went left and just stepped over the fence.
Take another shot.
They had changed direction and were heading back my way.
Don't mess up. Wait until they are both under water then make a dash for the shore line.
I was there before the birds surfaced.
When they did they were perhaps 30 metres away.
Mike had made it in to position too.
He was closer, not only that he's chosen to take a route that left him with the sun directly behind him.
Nice one Mike!
A little envious... OK, a lot envious, I had to make do with my position.
Fingers crossed they might come my way but in the meantime....
I at least had some superb calm water and to be honest, to get two in the shot when you have a big lens, well they need to stay a little way off!
Come on you little beauties, get closer.
Great Northern Diver    Iceland
Love is!
I didn't know how it would turn out until I got home. In fact it's only as I have written this blog that I have realised it's a passable effort.
Unfortunately at the time I felt as if I'd failed, maybe Mike did too.
But one thing was certain, were both hooked. Suffering from an obsession. Divers! The bends.
We spent another couple of hours waiting, hoping that the birds would get closer than previous but unfortunately they sailed off to a distant part of this rather large lake.
I decided to move to the narrowest part of the water. If they did come back it would offer me the perfect spot.
They didn't but at least I was treated to a close up of a Ringed Plover who landed right in front of me.
Ringed Plover   Iceland
20 feet away at most. I was dead chuffed, mu camouflage gear must have worked a treat!
However, we see Ringed Plovers locally!
Ringed Plover   Iceland
Maybe not that close, but there again, maybe we do.
Great Northern Divers are not a common sight. Certainly not in full breeding plumage.
You have to agree, they do look stunning.
In the end we decided to give up when one of the birds suddenly decided to fly off. Mike returned to the car to check out his shots, I stuck a 2.0x teleconverter on my lens and gave it another 20 minutes with the remaining bird from a new position nearer to where the birds seem to favour. Why not use the 2.0x in the first place I asked myself? 
Great Northern Diver    Iceland
The reason why not is that although optically it might be very sharp, the greater the distance the subject is, the more the likely hood of "bad air", or in other words, distorted light. Better than nothing though!
By now it was mid morning and we decided it was too late to head north so instead we would head back to the River Laxa. The sun had vanished but it was still dry and reasonably bright so perhaps better to photograph white birds. I had a feeling I needed to have another go at the Barrow's Goldeneyes.
Off we went then.

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