Saturday, 7 September 2013

Surface Detail.... 2.3.8

In Iceland.

Still giddy from the double whammy of the Phalaropes and Divers I am leaning against the hire car wondering if there is any way this trip can get any better when Pete gives me a tip.

"Drive to the end of this road and you'll get to a harbour where there is always a pair of Red-throated Divers"

A few minutes later at the end of the road, at the harbour, I peer over a low wall and on the water below I see this....

As ever Pete was spot on. A pair and their chick happily swimming away in the sheltered waters.

The tide is low and the surface of the water is about 15 feet from the top of the wall I am peering over. A large white boat is tide up alongside a wooden jetty. A small fishing boat is being unloaded and some people are admiring the view from the outermost point of the jetty.

The divers are obviously well used to people, it seems this small harbour at the end of the road is well used despite its remote-ness. It also seems chock full of fish. The divers are spotting plenty of food....

Once prey is spotted they slip underwater almost imperceptibly, one second they are drifting over the surface, the next, gone. The water is so clear that you can follow them as they persue their lunch...

The ghostly shape appears silently from the water, every movement is full of grace, the surface of the water is hardly broken.

Both parents are hunting as the crew of the fishing boat fling boxes of their catch on to the jetty. One is swimming towards me and I wait for it to surface, breaking the surface tension of the water like a sub's periscope. The water clings to its head, looking like a second skin.

To the right the tranquility is broken by a diver catching something that looked a little like it was a cuttlefish before is encounter with the diver. The Red-throat thrashes wildly, bits of fish and fish gut are flung about with the spray in a scene at odds with the previous peaceful interlude...

It is easy to get caught up in the grace and beauty of these birds, but this is just another day to survive and thrive. They continue to dive, breaking and rebreaking the surface...

1 comment:

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