Friday, 28 September 2012

Iceberg alley

You may think that once you have seen an iceberg you have seen them all..... but like mountains or even large trees....they are all rather unique and rather special- especially with the changing Arctic light and the calving action that sometimes happens as you are watching- if you are very lucky!

wave eroded platform on large berg

photo- Tim Ritz (

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Baffin bay seabirds

Due to a lack of satellite coverage and minimalistic internet availability, it has not been possible to update my blog for some time. I finished my seabird survey work yesterday and am now ashore in Upernavik awaiting my flight on Saturday. The weather is just starting to turn and the sea ice is building rapidly up north and starting to push southwards by the day. Many of the seabirds- the skuas and arctic terns in particular have already headed south, leaving the open ocean to the little auks, Brunnich's guillemots, fulmars and a few glaucous gulls.  Here's a selection of my seabird snaps from the last month :-

glaucous gull
glaucous gull bathing

dark morph fulmar

little auk

little auk
pomarine skua 
Brunnichs' guillemot guarding chick
iceland gull

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Gyr delight

The essence of arctic birding for me is the mighty gyr falcon (Falco rusticolus)- huge, powerful and very elusive! I have seen distant birds on several previous visits to Greenland but this had not prepared me for a close encounter that I experienced a couple of days ago, when two of these magnificent falcons came over a ridge and flew over me at 50 metres! The light was against me and the speed of the birds made it difficult to focus but I'm well happy with these shots!

Gyr falcon
I spent 3 hours walking around the island of Upernavik enjoying some lovely scenery and great birds including raven, Canada goose, snow bunting, Iceland and glaucous gulls. 
Atlantic Birch ii in Upernavik

coastal scenery
view inland to the east

typical Greenlandic dwellings- Upernavik

snow bunting


Canada goose
After joining my ship we had a lovely moon rise as we headed out to sea.