It is often hard to see into the nests in Norway you can see a nest is active but can't see how many heads are in there. We drove to nest, pulling over at the side of the road to check it with the scope before we walked in. amazingly we could see 3 heads, triplets! This is great as it means we can collect two chicks from this nest, triplets are quite rare as not many pairs are able to feed 3 chicks or build a nest large enough to support them! The other surprise about this nest was that it was next to a firing range, quite off-putting as you try and climb a tree! However, the eagles were not fazed by this, actually choosing to build their nest here after the rifle range had been there for sometime. This is a great example of how tolerant of people some of these birds are. We collected two females from this nest, leaving the smaller male. We checked another couple fo nests on the way home but they only contained. one chick. However a couple of phonecalls from people collecting in Bergen to the south and in areas further north mean we had another five chicks!
After picking up two chicks from the overnight ferry from Bergen the next day we caught a couple of ferries to the outer islands and then borrowed a small boat to get out to a nest on a crag on a small island, we managed to misjudge the tide, getting dropped off on what we thought was the main part of the island and was infact another rocky outcrop cut off by the sea, the boat had left so we just had to take our boots off and wade across! This nest and others that day only contained one or no chicks so we were left empty handed. The first 2 nests we visited on my last day both had twins, we collected a male from each, bringing the total to 15. Our last port of call later than evening was to check a nest on a small island opposite the town of Ulsteinvik close to Alv Ottar's house, the evening light was great and we could clearly see twins in the nest, there was no time to get the boat out that evening but Ingar and Alv Ottar collected our final large female from this nest the next day whilst I headed back to Scotland to check everything was ready for their arrival.
On the 19th we drove to some sites further north and collected our youngest chick from a large over-hanging birch tree, this was a nest we tried to collect from last year, but following a storm both chicks were found dead in the nest. The chicks react differently to your head popping over the edge of the nest depending on their age and personality. The younger/quieter chicks tend to flatten themselves, lying as low as possible in the nest on their bellies, whilst older chicks will stand up as tall as possible holding their wings out to make themselves look big and hissing. We checked another nest on an island that was being used by people for a picnic. The nest was only 10 minutes walk away but everyone had left the eagles to it. Once we got back later that night we went fishing for the chicks, catching pollock, mackerel and cod.
Sorry I am having to write this in sections as I just wrote a whole blog post with all the photos in and it didn't upload properly so having to start again!
The next day was not quite as successful, we were out with Monica, a present of a radio programme very similar to 'Out of Door's dealing with all things in the countryside for NRK (the Norwegian equivalent of the BBC). The media in Norway are also interested in the Scottish and Irish re-introduction projects. After a couple of long walks into nests one only had a single chick and at a second we found the cliff was too difficult to abseil down to get into the nest once we got there, we did see a family of ring ouzels on the way back though! Once we had dropped Monica off at the airport we walked along the shore to a nest in a small skita spruce and were rewarded with twins. The chick left in the nest is fitted with Norwegian rings, the blue colour is the area code for Norway and the colour ring for 2011 is red and black. There were also the remains of a hedgehog left in the nest, probably taken as roadkill.