When bad news is really good news
Thursday 12th May. Up early for breakfast. Packed and ready to go. Mid way through the grub and some bad news: The flight back to Vardø for me and Kirkenes for the rest of the group had just been cancelled. Yikes! The guys had a flight to catch. That meant a pell-mell drive with Hans at the wheel over the iciest roads I have ever seen driven at speed. So over the ‘inland white-out’ we sped, noting (Rock) Ptarmigan, Reindeer and more Snow Bunting flocks en route. Then we entered the Hawk Owl zone. Not feeling so optimistic as we had already tried and failed, suddenly a voice rang out “stop the bus!!” Yep we could manage 5 minutes to look at this baby. What a bird! In the end no less than 3 Hawk Owls were seen in seen over the course of 15-20 minutes driving including one I spotted on the roof of a house!
Hawk Owl, Varanger, May 2011. Hans Ueli Grütter. A cancelled flight can be such good news!
My efforts were less good than Ueli’s- but this one shows the extra black at the back (of the head)
The bus dropped me, James McC and Tormod off in Varangerbotn. We were then met by Kate Utsi our ‘fixer’ for the trip. Pause a minute: she did an amazing job. More here: http://www.varanger.com/index.php?lang=eng We headed on to Vadsø. A walk around Vadsø island was most memorable for c 12 Lapland Buntings including several stunning males.
Never taken for granted, we also took time to watch the Steller’s Eiders again in the harbour and were delighted to see an adult (summer) Iceland Gull. We then carried on towards Vardø with the wonderful loan of Kate’s car (to be continued…).
Hans Ueli’s photos again below (star man!)