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Breeding bird survey in Norway: day 4

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1910 the u shaped long trek in the mountains with 5 willow ptarmigans, golden eagle and white tailed eagle
The beginning of the route for the day was fairly easy. A nice track took straight up to the first survey point. Approaching a set of bushes a white and brown hen took off from under my feet and landing pretending to be injured. Willow Ptarmigan wanted to attract my attention away from its nest. It was situated at the bottom of a bush with 7 eggs inside. This woke me pretty quickly J I didn’t even need to have coffee. Took a picture and off I went not to disturb the bird. On the way back along the track the male bird turned up although I intentionally went around to avoid any disturbance of the breeding ptarmigan.

Other than these birds there were no other observations worth mentioning. After this the ascending started. Hills, stones, rivers, 70 degree steep slopes and lots of water, absolutely everywhere. No trekking shoes would have managed to handle this. The only proper gear for here are the basic rubber wellington boots. Simple technology that works much better than any Gore tex or anything else.

the survey route. the place where the picture was taken is in the first half of the route. i carried on for about a km into the snowy mountain hill

Once I though I had climb up the hill a valley followed and then another not a hill but a mountain top with at least 200m altitude difference. To make it even more difficult going up the hill the walk had to be over a stone field with big rocks. Patches of snow made the climbing even more puzzling since I wasn’t sure if there is anything underneath the snow. Once that finished a complex set of bogs and swampy areas started. At that moment snow came up. I was already.  At the end of the route so couldn’t stop. I had to do it. Strong winds were following the mountain pass that was formed at the top where I was going and all the wind was concentrated and channeling down that pass. What a survey work. And birds? What birds? Of course there were. I had a total of 5 Willow Ptarmigans, White tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Dipper, Bluethroat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel and a few Bramblings and Redwings here and there. Well I can’ say it wasn’t worth it.

It took me about 1.5 hours to come down from the mountain top. I was really exhausted. Slowly approached my camp and desperately wanted to get some food. It was already 13.00. Packed my stuff and looked at the maps for the new place where I need to go. I turned out that it was nearly 200km away. Well, I will get a nap first. The ‘day’ is long 😉

So I did. Got a nap and got on the road. En route I got some fruit to catch up with the needed vitamins and put some petrol in to ensure the mileage. I was heading towards Narvik, south of Finnsness.

The route starts just by the road so it would be an easy start. This would give me some time for a longer sleep. This time I needed a warm and cosy place, a house. The map shows possibility for renting a place in the area so. I just need to find it. Wondered a bit here and there and just stopped y the road to ask a young couple about possible places to stay. Well they were going right there. It turned out that the father of the lady rents a place. We negotiated a price and there I was. Ohhh my God. FINALLY a hot shower, electricity and running tap water. I don’t believe this. Three bedroom house with a kitchen and a bathroom were all for me. A fireplace was on and it quickly warmed up the house. I can’t explain the pleasure I had to be in a proper house and leave the tent for a while. I had forgotten what the comfort of a home is… people often don’t appreciate what they have until they loose it.

After a hot shower and tea I crashed down. The forecast for tomorrow wasn’t very positive but I did set the alarm for 3 a.m.

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