Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Skagafjordur Whoopers!

The second part of our trip in Iceland began on Monday 1st August where we began catching, ringing and surveying the Whooper Swans as part of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trusts work, (WWT), in the North of Iceland in the pristine valley of Skagafjordur. Our base for the next 2 weeks would be in the northern area around Akyreryi.

Our work was spent visiting several well known Whooper Swan breeding locations to try and catch as many moulting adults and cygnets as possible, where metal and darvic rings were added.

A total of 50 Whooper Swans were captured during our few days in Skagafjordur, some new, retrapped and controls.

This was to be a truly unforgettable experience for Kane and I as the method used to catch these Whooper swans was by hand. Running across marshes for several miles to catch a brood of cygnets and both adults really was great fun!

Once we had completed most of the broods on the marshes, we cooled off by catching moulting adults in the freezing cold glacial rivers and as you can see from the photos above and below, I was not joking.

This Whooper Swan (pictured above) was not going to slip past me and after a few seconds the bird came close enough and it was safely captured and ready to be ringed - albeit a bit wet afterwards! Kane on the right and I on the left always working as a team.

Whilst out in the marshes we managed to catch 14 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 2 Mallard which were all moulting so unable to fly, making an easy catch.

I also managed to track down 2 baby Snipe chicks which were at least 300 yards away. Practising listening to their 'peeping' calls on Flatey Island was the only way I could have found these chicks.

However, relaxing in the hot tub at base camp was just what we all needed after a long day in the marshes!

All photos by Kane Brides.

Mnay thanks to Olafur Einarsson, family and friends for a superb few days! I am sure we will back next year!

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