Tag Archives: puffin

Iceland Photography Adventure

Post 1 – Photographing birds in Iceland

There is a lot of action along the south coast of Iceland where we base our adventure.  Atlantic puffins burrow holes in the sides of cliffs to nest. It is exciting to see and photograph them catching fish and delivering meals to the young. Their beaks are designed to lock in place the first catch while the puffin grabs another.  Or in this case, 5 fish!

Atlantic puffin with a great catch. © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Atlantic puffin with a great catch.
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Or, the same beak advantage can hold a larger fish more securely.

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

A young puffin emerges from the burrow. © 2014 Diane Kelsay

A puffin emerges from the burrow.
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Fish delivery © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Fish delivery
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

The great skua hides the chicks where they blend into the environment.  The adult flies over keeping watch.  This photo was taken at 400mm and then cropped.  It is important not to stress the birds by getting too close.

Great skua chick © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Great skua chick
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

The Arctic tern feeds chicks on land and water.  Here the young birds are floating around with icebergs, occasionally hopping on for a ride.  When the parent comes near, the chick calls out and the fish gets dropped into the beak.  These fish are very transparent and can only be seen when the light is just so.

Arctic terns © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Arctic terns
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

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Iceland Photography Adventure

Wildlife

Iceland has very few native mammals (the artic fox), many fish and whales, and a wealth of birds.

Puffins©2013 Bob Harvey

Puffins
©2013 Bob Harvey

The long days (it never got dark) of summer convert all that daylight into an abundance of food for migrating birds.  Artic terns make the long journey (and it is not a straight flight) from the other end of the planet to nest along the coast.  Puffins abandon the sea and burrow into cliff faces.  Raptors and ducks and loons and shorebirds show up – again to raise young!

Artic Terns©2013 Bob Harvey

Artic Terns
©2013 Bob Harvey

Great Skua©2013 Bob Harvey

Great Skua
©2013 Bob Harvey

ic13_puffin0658bh300

Puffins on the cliff’s edge
©2013 Bob Harvey

One of the most exciting things I witnessed was when the puffins left the burrow and returned with lunch for the chicks – with an onshore wind.  When it was time to land, the puffins would spin around and face into the wind and land backwards – often tumbling when they made contact with land.  It was not pretty, but it was effective!

Puffin landing©2013 Bob Harvey

Puffin landing
©2013 Bob Harvey

 

One other exciting thing is that a lot is happening in the waters where glaciers calve – and fresh and salt water mix as the tides ebb and flow!

Puffin and icebergs©2013 Bob Harvey

Puffin and icebergs
©2013 Bob Harvey

Artic tern fishing between ice bergs©2013 Bob Harvey

Artic tern fishing between ice bergs
©2013 Bob Harvey

 

Red throated divers, a type of loon, nest in small ponds.  We found them in several areas we visited.

Red throated diver with chick©2013 Bob Harvey

Red throated diver with chick
©2013 Bob Harvey

 

Red throated diver with an eel for the chicks' lunch!©2013 Bob Harvey

Red throated diver with an eel for the chicks’ lunch!
©2013 Bob Harvey

Once again, to be fair to you, I have opted to upload only a few of many images captured.  Now that you’ve seen the images – note that I did not take a long telephoto on this adventure.  My longest lens was 300mm on a full frame camera!

Iceland is an amazing place to witness wildlife nesting and feasting.

 

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