When Glyn and Richard asked me if I would like to join them on a short break to Iceland, during the 11th – 16th June 2017, I couldn’t resist the chance to visit this fascinating island and to see the special birds that can be found there in late spring. We flew from Manchester to Keflavik, it is only a couple of hours away from the UK and with a 1 hour time difference and 24 hours daylight, at this time of year, there is plenty of opportunity for photographing the very special birds that this wonderful country has to offer.
Our prime target was the Great Northern Diver, in summer plumage. What a stunning bird and to hear their evocative calls across the huge lakes, was something to behold. Other target species were Red-necked Phalarope, Red-throated Diver, Harlequin Duck, Brunnich’s Guillemot, Arctic Tern, Slavonian Grebe, Great and Arctic Skua, Redwing and a wealth of summer plumaged waders.
We spent our 4 days covering and exploring the south west, west and south eastern corner of Iceland, visiting the Snaefellsjokull National Park, Pingvallavatn National Park and covering the coastal areas at Olafsvik, Rif, Hellisandur, Londrangar, Sandgerdi, Hafni and Bakkaflugvollur. We also visited the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano Centre. A further BLOG Post will follow in due course.
Great Northern Diver – Above 12 images – The target bird of the trip – Tony Davison©
Red-throated Diver – Above 8 images – Many birds were very confiding – we had one pair with youngsters – Tony Davison©
White-winged Scoter – American race Deglandi – Above 2 images – immature drake with Common Eider at Sandgerdi – a vagrant to Iceland – Tony Davison©
Harlequin Duck – female – Tony Davison©
Harlequin Duck – Above 4 images – The drakes are stunning birds in their brilliant grey-blue plumage with a bright chestnut orange flank patch and intricate black and white zebra stripes – Tony Davison©
Red-necked Phalarope – male – The male is drab in compariosn to the female and does all the incubating and rearing of the young
Red-necked Phalarope – female -The females are brightly coloured with a lovely orange-red necklace, note the little white eyebrow patch. I’m convinced this plays a part in the mating process.
Red-necked Phalarope – Above 10 images – A mating pair on a small pool at Rif – One of my favourite birds of the trip – Tony Davison©
Slavonian Grebe – Above 2 images – Small numbers on lakes and pools, this bird was by far the most obliging. Photographed at 10pm in superb evening sunshine – Tony Davison©
Arctic Skua – Above 2 images – Several pairs seen on territory at various locations – Tony Davison©
Great Skua – Above 10 images – Numerous at Bakkaflugvollur in the South East, around c17 birds and several pairs on territory – Tony Davison©
Brunnich’s Guillemot – Small numbers on breeding cliffs at Londrangar on the Snaefellsness Peninsular – Tony Davison©
Black Guillemot – Above 3 images – A few birds seen in several harbour areas including this obliging bird at Sandgerdi Harbour – Tony Davison©
Arctic Tern – Above 2 images – Common, many large nesting colonies seen – Tony Davison©
Black-tailed Godwit – Above 2 images – Fairly common in the meadows and lowland field areas – Tony Davison©
Dunlin – Small numbers with a few heard singing at various locations – Tony Davison©
Golden Plover – Above 2 images – Common on the tundra areas – Tony Davison©
Purple Sandpiper – Above 3 images – A small party discovered on a beach at Olafsvik Beach – Tony Davison©
Redshank – A very common wader – Tony Davison©
Ringed Plover – Small numbers seen at various locations – Tony Davison©
Common Snipe – Above 2 images – Very common and drumming 24 hours a day – Tony Davison©
Whimbrel – A numerous wader replacing the Curlew – Tony Davison©
Red-breasted Merganser – drake – Most of the drakes were already moulting into their eclipse plumage – Quite plentiful – Tony Davison©
Common Eider – drake – Very common around the coastal areas and harbours – Tony Davison©
Whooper Swan – Fairly common across all areas we visited, many with cygnets – Tony Davison©
Ptarmigan – Tony Davison© – We only saw 2 birds in the Snaefellsjokull National Park – Tony Davison©
Redwing – Icelandic race – Above 2 images – Tony Davison©