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Iceland - part two.

One of the joys about returning to a much loved place is that you have a head start of where to go. Lake Myvatn is huge and the numbers of birds that live on or near it are numerous. Yet there are not that many places where photography is actually possible. It is the knowing of these hidden, little gems that can quickly turn a difficult day into one of sublime joy.

When you add to this to the actual species we were working with, all mouth-wateringly gorgeous it is not hard to see why I would return every year if I could. Slavonian grebe, red-necked phalarope and red-throated diver all have deep echoes of a northern, wet wilderness.

Another relatively common species in Iceland, as it is here, is the ringed plover. These lovely small waders lay four cryptically coloured eggs on shingle beaches and river gravel wash.

They are ever vigilant as the eggs and newly hatched chicks are on the menu for many bird species such as gulls and skuas. Ringed plovers don’t always rely on the camouflage of their eggs however to escape the beady eyes of the avian pirates.

They also have a striking strategy to help lure the attentions of the bold gulls and skuas. We often call it the ‘rat run’ as the small plovers run and drag their wings, as if broken, across the ground. It does work as more often than not the gull, or even arctic fox (though we didn’t see one) will follow the tantalising snack as the plover runs ahead looking like its about to croak it. 

Scaup, male.

Red-necked phalarope

Snow bunting male.

Red-throated diver.

There are no flies on me!!!!!!!!!!! They were not that bad really, only on one morning, and they don't bite, if they did a minor nuisance would have become a catastrophe.