I’m writing from home, in France, and even though temperatures have been very high here, I still don’t remember fondly the weather I faced when I drove accross the mountains of Varanger, going from Berlevåg and Kongsfjord to the Varangerfjord. Hail, wind and two degrees, that’s not how I had envisioned my vacation.
I looked at the hills, hoping to sight a Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus), but the many patches of snow that remained there turned this task into a virtually impossible endeavour. Oh, and the bird is very rare, though one had been seen close by the same morning.
When I arrived in Gednje, I was not very optimistic. It was cold, it was grey, I didn’t really want to get out of the car… and there were not many birds to be seen. Yet, I crossed the road, and noticed a pair of Long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) on the pond. Usually, ducks flee when they see a human, but as I lay down on the humid shore and started crawling in their direction, they kept doing their duck business, either resting next to the edge or diving in the middle.
Then, they amazed me by coming to me and staying by the shore for long minutes. They were curious, they looked at me constantly, almost shyly, but they didn’t seem frightened.
The milky sky reflected in the water, and pushed me towards this high-key look, ducks contrasting against the white background.
Long-tailed ducks have complex plumage variations, with three different plumages in a year; if you compare these birds to those I saw in March, you’ll notice the difference immediately. My friend and fellow blogger Jérome likes them a lot; if you happen to read French, I highly recommend a read of his nature adventures. At the moment, he tells the tale of a trip to Québec 😉
The pair of Red-throated divers (Gavia stellata) that occupied the pond was not so tame, and stayed at bay all the time. They also flew around on occasion, as noisy as they were in Nuuksio.
Previously in this series:
- Arctic ocean, windswept shore
- Spring water
- Wader show
- Hills of Lapland
- Force of will
Click the links to see more!