Thursday, September 10, 2015

Don's Blog Greenland III Birds 1

I'm not a bird guy but when an entire ship's attention is directed to bird watching who wouldn't catch the fire. Latrabjarg, a sheer cliff in the most western part of Iceland, is Europe's largest bird cliff. It is 14 km long and 440 m high and provides nesting sites for millions of birds. The most plentifull birds are the guillemots  in the Alcid family, also called Auks. Three common guillemots include razorbills (with a specific hooked bill), the common murre (with a longer thinner bill), and the thick billed murre (with a thicker bill). They filled the waters between the cliffs and the ship.

About 40% of the world's population of razorbills nest here at Latrabjarg.

If you look closely at this image you can see a razorbill (bottom right), two common murres (left and right),
and a thick billed murre (upper center). 

These birds are designed for under water flight. They have narrow wings and their posteriorly placed legs are used as rudders. Because their bodies are heavier than other species aerial flight is quite labored. It is difficult for them to become airborne as shown in the image. They fly low and flap fast.
Colonial nesting helps inexperienced birds in finding the spotty food resources at sea and the large numbers of individuals in the colony confuses and satiates nearby predators.
It is an amazing event to see all the veteran and rookie bird watchers in action with their many forms of magnification and photographic equipment.
My images were taken with my Canon 30D with my macro lens.

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