Photo: Ground nest in coastal moorland of common gull, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 26, 2022. 16:07
With the midnight sun having arrived in the north and the landscape turning greener by the day – though the trees are still not fully green yet – it is breeding and nesting season for many of Lofoten’s migratory birds.
Most of the birds are ground nesting, often choosing to hide their eggs in the thick and boggy heather of the coastal moorlands. But as the islands are full of birdlife, the nests are everywhere in reality. I’ve even seen young gull chicks walking around the parking lots in Leknes and Svolvær in the middle of the day.
Most of the birds are semi-aggressive when you approach too close. The gulls and kittiwakes will scream as they fly towards you, but never get too close. The rarer, but highly aggressive arctic skua (dark brown in color) will come into near contact with your head in repeated attacks until you leave the nesting area. While others like the oystercatchers will try to distract you to get you away from their nesting site.
If you are just walking through an area and suddenly notice aggressive bird activity, then take a little more caution to where you are walking, as you can see in the photo, the eggs are pretty well camouflaged, and easy to accidentally step on.
If you are camping, then you need to take a little more care to investigate the area and perhaps move away from a planned camping location. Continued proximity to a nesting area, such as setting up a tent for a night, may force the parents to abandon their nest for too long, and thus the chicks never hatch. So be careful to keep a great enough distance should you happen to enter into a nesting area.
Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6