Elk and Sea-eagles in Norway

On Sunday I was waiting on the upperdeck for Mark when I spotted a large bird perched on the ground of a small island about 1200 metres from the ship.  I called him and he
brought up his scope and together we could make out an immature White-tailed
Eagle. Even through the scope the bird was distant despite its size.  I then panned along the small series of islands and found another bird.  Again the bird was distant but it did show the features of an adult.  We then had a third bird fly over the island and disappear into a small patch of woodland on yet another island.  A little later before we were due to go out birding I picked up on a commotion about 800 metres of the stern.  I could see an Eagle getting mobbed by several Greater Black-backed and Herring Gulls.  When I looked closer I could see an adult White-tailed Eagle, which I assumed was the same bird as before, carrying something over to the small island where it was perched earlier that hour.  I would say that it had just robbed the Gulls of a large fish.  All the images are unfortunately a little distant but nice record shots all the same.  Twenty-four Common Eider were feeding about fifty metres off the stern whilst all this was going on and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks passed by.

White-tailed Sea-eagle, Harstad - 11 Mar 12

White-tailed Sea-eagle, Harstad - 11 Mar 12

White-tailed Sea-eagle, Harstad - 11 Mar 12

Common Eider, Harstad - 11 Mar 12

Mark and I then managed to get dropped off at the Trondenes Historic Centre a couple of miles out of Harstad. The area around the centre was lovely but the local lake which has breeding Slavonian grebes in summer was completely iced over as were most of the roads around town.  We had a wander around the area and found two gardens with bird feeders in.  We watched the feeders for half an hour or so and managed to see around a dozen Great Tits and 5 Blue Tits.  A female Bullfinch was a new bird for the trip list, as was a single Raven which flew over the oldest medieval church in Europe: Trondenes Kirk.  The highlight of the day for both of us was a European Elk which came out of the woodland in front of us, crossed the road and promptly disappeared into another patch of woodland.  The conditions had taken a turn for the worst and we walked back to the Centre in what was pretty much a blizzard.  Fortunately the centre had an open fire and a superb little café serving coffee and cakes.  A great place and a great days birding even though the species list was in single figures.

Trondenes Kirk, Norway - 11 Mar 12

Mark Cutts, Harstad - 11 Mar 12

M Cutts and S Copsey

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