This March was busier than ever before. We had 6 tours and all were centered around the Steller’s Eider and/or Lynx.
It will be difficult to go over all of them, but I’ll give it a try.
Our first tour was from 5-12.03 and was about the lynx, ringed seals, owls, woodpeckers, grouse, and wolves. We had 2 lynx observations with not too many hours spent looking for it. Actually, there was also a third observation, that lasted for about 10 minutes, but it was unfortunately only through the thermal imaging binoculars and through the Android tablet, which was connected to the binoculars. The wild cat was just sitting behind “a wall” of young alder trees and it wasn’t possible to see it with our own eyes. The first observation was rather short as the lynx crossed the road and disappeared into the forest. Then again, the second observation was great and rather long. We even managed to put a spotting scope and observed it licking its paws and moving slowly. It came out that there was a roe deer killed not too far from it and probably just had a quick bite.
We also managed to see the Northern Hawk Owl and Pygmy Owl. The weather was great for lynx tracking, which we also did, but not the best for birding. Temperatures were around-10c and even colder during the night.
The second tour was from 12-18.03 and it was our own Lynx and Steller’s Eider Tour. Our first mission was to see Steller’s Eider. We had heard that the bigger eider flock(s) had not been seen for about a week, and some birders hadn’t seen them at all. As a snowstorm was approaching on the same day, we started looking for them from the places that were the hardest to reach and where the roads would become undrivable for a minibus. We managed to get views of 2 female Steller’s Eiders (probably), but they were rather far away and constantly on the move. After 4-5 hours of driving and stopping for scanning, we went to the place where they often are in March and there it was! 1 magnificent male floating close to the shore with some coots. Not the most regular sight. We all got great looks and some photos from a close distance and were actually happier with 1 male from a short distance, than with a possible flock floating far away. Mission completed. We were checking the last few possible spots, when it started to snow heavily and the wind was blowing already quite hard.
We looked for a possible Northern Hawk Owl, but the weather conditions made spotting very difficult, and going out of the car was not a real option. So we returned to the accommodation as all the birders had seen a Northern Hawk Owl already before.
I forgot to mention that we also got great looks of a Pygmy Owl the same morning. And that was a lifer for one of us!
To be continued…..