This summer has been the most memorable summer ringing and birding wise that I have ever had, I've ringed and seen some fantastic species and best of all met some fantastic people.
In early July myself and 3 very close friends ( Kane Brides, Ciaran Hatsell and Chris Bridge. ) Set out for a month long trip to Iceland. Our aim was to meet up with fellow British ringers and Icelandic ringing enthusiasts whilst out there and catch and ring a variety of birds. My expectations were far surpassed!!!
We set off for Keflavik and then onto Rejklavik for the first part of our journey, Flying into Keflavik airport the land was baron and we wondered what lay ahead of us, however upon touch down we were greeted with a pleasant atmosphere and very accomodating Icelandics. We stayed a few days in the Capital of Rejklavik birding and mooching about, before heading up to Stykkisholmur on the western side of Iceland. We stayed here for another couple of nights whilst waiting for the "ringing team to assemble" before heading out via ferry to Flatey Island. We clocked up a few special species of birds whilst waiting for the team. Notably we had a juvenile White Tailed Eagle flying over the campsite giving amazing views, also saw some surreal sites like Great Northern Divers sat on ponds by the side of the roads, Red throated diver chicks sat no more than 10 yards from us. Ravens and Whimbrels always calling along with Golden and Ringed Plovers always "distracting" us away from their youngsters.
The Morning of the 15th July came and this had been long awaited by the four of us. This was the day we were to head out onto Flatey. We met up with Ævar Petersen and his wife Solveig Bergs and set off to the island, arriving at this tiny blob of land in a massive expanse of water was a little suprising but the close knit community we found there was astonishing. Everyone was very pleasant and welcoming and during our stay on the Island we were made to feel at home! Sverrir Thostensen and Siggi his son also came onto Flatey Island along with Kane's trainer Steve Christmas and his Brother Tim Christmas, during our 10 days here we ringed nearly 2000 birds, species included - Mallard, Meadow pipit, snow bunting, Arctic Tern, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Shag, Puffin, Black Guillemot, Snipe, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Red Knecked Phalarope, Dunlin, Redwing and Eider. We left Flatey Island on the 26th July and said our goodbyes to everyone.
We met Sverrir the day after and headed North to Akureyri where he lives. Here we were greeted again by fantastic hospitality and we met Sverrir's wife Thorey. We stayed here for a further 10 days catching Whooper swans along with Golden Plover and Whimbrel. We saw some amazing sites here and got exceptional views of Gyr Falcons, Great Northern Divers and many other species of birds! We caught 80 or so Whoopers and a handful of each Golden Plover and Whimbrel but most of all had a great time whilst up in the north, Partying, singing and laughing the hours away, never a dull moment whilst we stayed with Thorey and Sverrir so thanks must go to these amazing people and I hope someday I can repay the favour to them?
We left Akureyri and flew to Rejklavik where once again we were welcomed with open arms by Ævar and Solveig and they invited us to stay the last night in their house where we had a hearty Icelandic meal and again laughed and smiled away our final hours in Iceland. This was a real treat for us all to kick back and enjoy looking back on a great month. We left for home on the 7th August and unfortunately back to the reality of work... Saying that, I'm sat at work now! ;-)
August was a slower month ringing and birding wise as it normally is in Britain, not helped by the fact that Kane whom I quite often go ringing with had another venture with Ciaran to Romania. During this month however we did manage a few sessions and caught some smaller birds which I hadn't seen in Iceland due to their lack of presence! Sedge and Reed warbler along with Whitethroat, Blackcap and a few others along with a couple of Swallows were about all that we caught, apart from 2 cracking Sparrowhawks in the same session at the farm, until however I noticed that the Coot on the mere and the park had started to become very tame.
So now I'm trying to get out after work most nights and catch and Colour ring Coot on the fylde mainly at Stanley Park and Marton Mere... So far we've colour ringed 18 Coot in the fylde and 10 of these have been in the last week so if you're out and about and happen to see a Coot with colourful legs, please contact either myself on firstname.lastname@example.org or more preferrably Kane Brides as the project manager on email@example.com
Sorry for the lack of pictures on here, if you want pictures from Iceland you can see Kane's and Birdman's blogs. Both are linked to this page.