Iceland - wrapping up

July 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The main targets were Waders, Wildfowl and Divers, but there's plenty of other stuff about too. Not a huge amount on the passerine front, but what there was was very nice indeed. Redwing is probably the commonest song bird, not often you can say that. I've never had much luck in the UK, the birds tend to be very shy and retiring. In Iceland, we tried and largely failed in getting birds from the car, but finally found a cooperative subject at Myvatn, feeding nearby young. I am immensely pleased with this photo, perhaps happier with it than any other image I took on the whole trip. Not sure why, it's only a portrait, but it's a bird I've wanted for a long time - it plugs a huge gap in my Thrushes gallery for starters. We spotted it from the car, a quick exit with the monopod and two minutes later I was done - being mobile was key.

We also had a couple of opportunities with Snow Buntings - on Flatey and at Godafoss. We couldn't pass up birds in summer plumage, so devoted a bit of time. The first image is from Flatey, the second from Godafoss.

And of course there were various Gulls, Fulmars and Terns. I personally didn't spend a huge amount of time with them, as they are species that I can more easily get elsewhere and time was at a premium, however if they're flying past it would be rude not to. Glaucous Gull is the predominant species in Iceland, loads of gleaming adults (if you're into that kind of thing). It was all I could do to keep Mick and Richard from spending the whole day at one site, but they saw sense in the end. These are from harbour at Grundarfjordur.

 

Fulmars were present at the top end of Flatey, flying along low cliffs. They came so close that I resorted to a 70-200mm - great fun as the whipped by, but I didn't give it too long as I last year I had some great times with this species in Ireland.

And last but not least, Arctic Tern and Kittiwake. The size of the Tern colonies has to be seen to be believed - the biggest one I've ever seen, acres and acres, at the west end of the Snaefellsnes peninsula between Hellisandur and Rif. We could have stopped, but we would have been pecked to death, so drove on! This photo is from Flatey once again, where there are numerous birds, but also Arctic Tern-free areas where you can shelter!

 


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