torsdag 1. mai 2008

Runde 18-20th April

After planning this trip for two years, Birgitte, Torun, Marte and I finally went to the nesting cliff on the island Runde on the northwest coast of Norway.

18th: Marte picked us all up after Friday's lectures. The drive turned out to be much longer than expected with three ferries and small roads, so after only about 300 km, but 9 hours (!) we finally arrived at Runde around midnight. We stayed in a small cabin on the north side of the island with a beautiful view of the Atlantic ocean.

19th: Marte and I woke up early and walked along the shore at sunrise taking pictures of the view and the birds: mostly seagulls, but also a white-tailed eagle. After breakfast we all packed our rucksacks for the day and hiked up a steep hill and over to the south side of the island were the nesting cliffs are. There we saw hundreds of birds already sitting on their nests, both the usual seagulls and northern gannet, many eagles and some great skuas. Towards the afternoon we went to the place where the puffins nest, in the hope of seeing these characteritic birds. Finally, at 5 o'clock, the first bird arrived. Marte and I just saw a glimpse of a colorful beak dissapear among the rocks. 15 minutes later a big flock came in from the sea after a day of fishing. Unfortunately not many came all the way up to the place where we were standing, but we had a great view of the flock while they flew in circles before landing by their nesting holes in the ground. If every bird flew directly to their nesting hole, a predator could more easily follow a bird and catch in when it is vulnerable on the ground. Instead, all the birds confuse the predators by flying in circles before they land. With all the eagles around, this is an important strategy. After some time a flock of 4 eagles started circling above the puffins, and immediately the puffins dissapeared to avoid getting caught in the air.

20th: Since the drive took such a long time, we wanted to get an early start and unfortunately did not have time to take another hike. We drove home in sunshine and windstill, past still fjords reflecting snow clad steep mountains.