(Photos with thanks from Sandra Clayton)
Today was really phenomenal and gave us a glimpse of what lies in store for us …
We started with a final visit to the Whooper Swans. It was clear, sunny and bright, but the temperature remained at -10c – and yes, that is a minus! So it is very cold here. But it is worth every beautiful, inspirational moment.
A mist hung above the ice and water at Lake Kussharo, once again creating a very ethereal, soft light. It was so serene, and we barely spoke above whispers in the early tranquility that bathed the entire area. The mist is caused by the warm water springs that feed the lake and create the warm edges of the lake for the birds to feed and rest during the day. The contrast between the warm water and the icy cold air creates that eerie mist that is so very lovely.
There were plenty of Swans, and they looked magnificent against the clear hills in the background. When they arrived from their overnight roosting places on the ice they created quite a tumult that contrasted sharply with the serenity. Birds greeted one another, jostled for a good place in the water, and occasionally a fight broke out among them as some tried to assert their dominance.
We tore ourselves away reluctantly at around 09:00 and after breakfast it was time to travel to Rausu.
On route we took a short detour, knowing that we would see Sika Deer. There were many to see, and to our delight we also saw Red Foxes. One of the foxes was totally indifferent to our presence, and we were able to approach close enough for some good photography.
Tomorrow we plan to leave extra early to reach the pack ice by boat to see and to photograph the Steller’s Sea Eagles …