The Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a common breeding bird in Iceland. They are migratory birds with winter grounds in West Africa.
Most Wheatears come to Iceland in May and they are usually flown to their wintergrounds in September. They often visit the garden in the autumn before their departure for Africa. The photoes are taken in Selfoss.
In 2013 we took a trip to the South East of the country. One of the most interesting places there is Jökulsárlón, Glacier Lagoon. When we got there we spotted a small group of people near the shore. They had gathered around a Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus). We were so surprised, we had never seen a Walrus before.
This huge animal just lay there enjoying the rest, flipping over every once in a while. Some tourist asked us if it was common to see a Walrus in Iceland and we could tell them that this was a first for us.
Walruses are very seldom seen in Iceland but this animal, a male, is probably accountable for several sightings in 2013.
The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is a common bird in woodlands by lakes in the eastern part of North America. This duck has only been seen seven times in Iceland. Wood Ducks are very beautiful and have been moved to Duck Gardens in Continental Europe. This male was very tame and might very probably have escaped from such a garden. This photo was taken by the Pond in Reykjavík, October 28, 1994.
The Merlin (Falco columbarius) had Starling for dinner today. This female Merlin has watched over the garden this winter and made daily attacks on the smaller birds. Sometimes she is lucky and succeeds in getting a morsel but more often her prey manages to get away.
The Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) belongs to the Finch family (Fringillidae) and breeds throughout most of Europe. They are non-migratory in their habitats but in Scandinavia they are partly migratory birds and vagrant outside their usual habitat, especially when food is scarce. The Bullfinches that have been seen in Iceland are probably from Scandinavia. The biggest group of Bullfinches to be seen here was in autumn 1994. That winter 40 to 50 birds were spotted throughout the country.
This photo was taken in March 1995 in Þrastaskógur, Grímsnes, South Iceland. Seven birds were seen there in the winter 1994 – 1995.
The Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) is probably the most loved Icelandic bird. Its arrival in the spring is looked forward to because it signals the coming of summer. The Golden Plower is a common breeding bird and it lays its eggs in dry heathland both in lowlands and highlands.
The Golden Plower loses its black colour in the winter time and in September most of them have become almost white on the belly.
The breeding population counts around 300,000 pairs. The Golden Plower goes to Ireland for the coldest months of winter, leaves late (October) and comes back early (April).
The Teal (Anas crecca) is the smallest duck in Iceland and in the whole of Europe. It can be found both in highlands and lowlands. A part of the breeding population goes to the British Isles in the autumn but huge flocks stay here the whole winter. The breeding population counts around 3,000-5,000 pairs.
In Ölfusá by Selfoss town there are usually around 30 – 60 birds in the winter time.
These photoes are taken by Tjörnin (the Pond) in Reykjavík and in Veiðivötn (Fishing Lakes) in the southern interior.
Last night we had some clear skies and I just couldn’t stay indoors. Some Northern lights were predicted and despite the cold I went out of town with my camera. I met some like-minded people, among them an American pair that had just come for a 5 days stay in Iceland with the aim of seeing the Northern lights. Yes, I am not the only one who is mesmerised by these natural phenomena.
Catching the Northern lights on camera is an endless challenge for me. Here’s what came out of last night’s outing.