Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Iceland May 2016 Part 9 Try,try,again !

With the last full day in the Myvatn area ahead of us I surprised Mike by being up earlier than him for the second day running. Waking up isn't a problem when you see the sun starting to rise but nevertheless, early isn't my normal forte.
After a quick session with our little friends in the pool outside our door.
Red-necked Phalarope     Iceland
and who can tire of them?! They are so confiding, so attractive and a total pleasure to watch.
Red-necked Phalarope     Iceland
I decided to take the long walk around the local area following the river in a big circular route. This was the one Mike took on the first morning so I thought I'd better take a look as this was probably my last chance.
I found the light in the shade of the hill very much as expected.
Barrow's Goldeneye      Iceland
These Barrow's Goldeneyes just sat mid stream and paddled against the current although they slowly drifted in to a sunnier patch of water.
Barrow's Goldeneye      Iceland
As I walked along I flushed Snipe and Godwits from where they had presumably roosted, Ducks from the side of the river. We had paid for an extra bag on our flight out but never got around to using our hides. We hadn't needed them to be honest and I felt that had I settled down and sat on the side of the river subjects would have come my way.
However, amongst the birds that took flight, a pair of Wigeon.
Wigeon     Iceland
I wasn't prepared for the shot so the rather low shutter speed already set was used without thinking but I must admit I rather like the result and might try something similar in future to introduce a motion blur!
Wigeon     Iceland
The hour or so it took to complete the walk produced nothing else so I ended up back in the Phalarope pond.
This time I tried using my new 100-400 lens as it's close focus capability suited the fact the birds come so near to you!
Red-necked Phalarope     Iceland
Mounted on a heavy Canon 1D the lens felt so much better than on my lightweight 5D3.
Red-necked Phalarope      Iceland
The shorter barrel and light weight of the lens make a wider field of view and following the action much easier, then there is the zoom capability too. It's certainly a cracking lens and for the price considerably cheaper than most Canon options to get you to 400mm or even 560mm with a 1.4xTC.
Satisfied that I had enough reasonable shots it was time for breakfast. We decided the weather towards Myvatn was looking very gloomy, stormy even, and so we had no option but to return to Husavik in which direction the sun was beaming down brightly. 
Of course we stopped on the way to check the Diver lake. Nothing doing again! We had checked the previous evening on the way home too, perhaps we had just got lucky two days earlier, on the other hand maybe these were the pair off the beach in Husavik, its not that far.
Sure enough there was a pair there again and I spent far too much time watching and waiting so if you want to see your average GND sight it's a bit like this!
Great Northern Diver      Iceland
I won't show you any more of my efforts as they are not very good!
What we did have a ball with though were the shoreline waders. In glorious sun as opposed to the gloom the previous day the Red Knots looked fabulous.
Red Knot     Iceland
I think there were three or four  in total and the least coloured one seemed the most confiding.
Red Knot     Iceland
Lying low in the sand you get a fabulous view,
Red Knot     Iceland
and you feel as if you are entering their world.
Red Knot     Iceland
They on the other hand seemed happy to enter mine too!
Red Knot     Iceland
I might have felt a bit stupid dressed in camouflage lying on the sand with the whole population of Husavik looking down on me to say nothing of passing traffic but the gear was superb. You can feel it's damp and wet underneath you but you stay perfectly dry and the sand soon brushes off when you get up too.
As well as the Knot, there were close up views of Sanderling too.
Sanderling      Iceland
Lovely little birds
Sanderling      Iceland
and this one wasn't ringed like the one from the previous day either.
Sanderling      Iceland
I think this was probably my favourite session of the whole trip but it's a tough call to decide.
Having leant my 600mm to Mike, I borrowed his 300mm to take some flight shots too.
Red Knot     Iceland
No doubt the f2.8 is a great bird in flight lens, alas I no longer own one!
Red Knot     Iceland
I have yet to try the 100-400 in that department.
Finished on the shore I tried my luck on the harbour wall waiting for the Divers. I spotted our whale watching boat returning from a midday trip loaded with folk and once again congratulated ourselves for having gone when we did!
Husavik Harbour     Iceland
As for the Divers. As mentioned previously, more frustration !
Still, a handsome Great Black-backed Gull was there for company
Great Black-backed Gull       Iceland
As well as another birdwatcher from Holland so it was interesting to chat to him too.Eventually though we decided to give the Kaldbakur site another crack. Who knows what we might find on the lake this time.
The answer was a distant Diver and this Slavonian Grebe.
Slavonian Grebe     Iceland
The scenery is quite magnificent across Husavik bay and it was beautiful just to sit and take it in, follow the whale watching boats and wait for the whales to blow nearby.
Husavik        Iceland
Our time in the north east was coming to an end all too soon, even sooner as that stormy looking weather was eventually arriving towards us having kept it's distance until tea time.
Husavik   Iceland
We had been so,so lucky with the weather.
We had one last drive around heading for new ground up a mountain and a bit of off roading but our progress was halted when the track was blocked by snow. Not much to record but I had a stop and another crack at the Snipe flying overhead.
Common Snipe      Iceland
That over it was time to go home and pack for our departure the following day.

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