( Phalacrocorax aristotelis ) breeding at the small Norwegian
island of Hornøya, Thursday the 2. to Sunday the 5. of August
This years most spectacular observation during the annual and
four day, Birding Festival at Skagen, northern Denmark, was six
low-flying Shags. Six of them in line flying west along the
beach in the early morning light of Friday May 18. Six black
birds, that made the day for the aproc. 30 birders, that saw
them, and gave the finder, the first guy to catch eye of them, a
set of Zeiss Binoculars, this year’s first prize, for best and
most spectacular observation.
This is how it is with shags in
They are not seen every year, and surely a species you wouldn’t
expect to se in bundles. Not to mention six-packs. Maybe once in
a while and mostly one at a time. Shags are seen only if you’re
lucky. And clever too. With the amount of Cormorants that
their lives along the Danish coastline *, one Shag amongst them
is easily missed. People tend to lower the binoculars, and just,
let the group of Cormorants pass. So maybe that’s why the
six-pack mentioned was never seen less than a mile down the
*( Denmark houses 30 % of the entire European population )
So you go north to meet with the Shag.
To arctic Norway where these pictures are shot.
Elks on the runway. Sheep on the airports parking lot. Skuas
over your head. And then the sailing. The eight of us in a neck
breaking dinghy ride through massive grey fog, riding, jumping
over the top of the waves of the Barents Sea itself.
On our way to the island of Hornøya.
Heading for the light tower, that marks the eastern far point of
Norway. Murmansk/Russia lies 150 miles to the south. This is
arctic Norway, and you smell it instantly getting out of the
The air you breathe. The wind blowing in your face. It’s
different.. Probably the cleanest Mother Earth can provide.
After all, ahead of you, looking east, is nothing but ocean.
Next stop is the Zemlya Islands, after that more ocean. The
smell, the air, enters every fiber of your body. It really gets
to you to the point, that you can still feel it five days later,
37.000 feet over northern Sweden, going home.
After that fog, and the waiting. 12 hours, in the light of the
polar night, with a horizon 30 feet away.
The world is the light-house. But when the dense, grey fog
finely disappeared this is what was revealed to us.
It might have something to do with my Icelandic predecessors.
This feels right. I am certainly more connected to these North
Atlantic, arctic rocks than to the warm sands of the
Mediterranean. Even though this is farther to go.
Maybe this is what they call grounding.
Nowadays media are full of offers of spooky health bringing
cures for just about any disease. Birding/photo pages should be
If this is what they call grounding, it can be recommended as a