The biggest dabbling duck

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Stokkönd – Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos

The Mallard  (Anas platyrhynchos) is the biggest of the dabbling ducks. It is the most common and widely spread duck in lowlands in Iceland but it is scarce in the interior. Most of them overwinter in Iceland, staying by the seaside or in the sea.  Some probably go to the British Isles for winter.  The breeding population in Iceland is estimated around 15,000 pairs.

This one is early

The first White Wagtail this spring arrived in the garden today. She went straight to the spruce tree where Wagtails have made their nest in recent years.  It seemed to know its way around the place.

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Maríuerla – Pied Wagtail – Montacilla alba

The White Wagtail goes all the way to West Africa for winter and most arrive back in Iceland  in May. This one is unusually early. The Icelandic breeding population counts around 50,000 pairs.

Meadow Pipits coming home

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Þúfutittlingur – Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis

Meadow Pipits (Anthus pratensis) are now arriving in Iceland with the southeast winds. Yesterday and today they were seen flying over Selfoss. The Meadow Pipit is the most common passerine bird in Iceland, with a breeding population estimated 500,000 – 1,000,000 pairs. They are common breeding birds all over the country, also in the interior where there is some vegetation.  The Meadow Pipit’s winter grounds are in Southwest Europe and in Morocco.

Picking mussels

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April is a good month to go mussel picking but next month it is the mussels’ breeding time and also it will be too warm. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when picking, cleaning and cooking mussels. Here is some info from an American blog; The Solo Cook.

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Today we took part in an event organised by The Icelandic University and The Iceland Touring Association. More than 100 people joined in a trip to pick mussels. It was a wonderful day and everyone seemed to enjoy the beach and the weather which was much better than expected.

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In Iceland you do not need to get a license but in some places the beach is private property.

kraekl-3These were steam-cooked and eaten straight from the pot. It is difficult to describe the taste of mussels but to say they taste like the sea is the best I can do.

Three species of Thrushes

In the last few days there have been three species of Thrushes in the garden. We have had up to 25 Redwings, 5 Blackbirds and a Fieldfare. The photoes are taken in the garden in the last few days.

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Gráþröstur – Fieldfare – Turdus pilaris
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Skógarþröstur – Redwing – Turdus iliacus
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Svartþröstur – Blackbird – Turdus merula

Redpolls courting

Courting in the garden is now in full swing. The Redpolls are the loudest and most boisterous.  Around 20-30 Redpolls come and make use of the feed and there is a lot going on. The males are constantly fighting and trying to get the attention of the females.  Many of them now boast a pink chest and the red patch on their forehead easily catches one’s attention where ever they go.

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