Redpolls in various colors and shades

Do seals also get cancer?

the Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina)
the Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina)

We came across this Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) in Snæfellsnes, not far from Fjord Kolgrafarfjörður. It seems to have somekind of infection or tumor blocking the eye. We could not see that the seal was affected by this extra growth as it swam among the other seals, see earlier post.
You can not but feel sympathy for a wild animal like this one and wonder what its life must be like.

Five Crossbill chicks

Krossnefur – Common Crossbill / Red Crossbill – Loxia curvirostra

Today a male Crossbill  appeared in the garden with as much as five chicks. The chicks let the father feed them sunflower seeds which they seemed to like a lot.  The chicks are probably approximately a month old and possibly about 1 -2 weeks since they left they nest. Crossbills have not been seen here in the garden since the first week of April.

Common Crossbill / Red Crossbill chick

At the same time last year a female Crossbill appeared here with two chicks.


Yesterday we saw several Crossbills with six chicks in Grímsnes, South Iceland.

The first Redpoll chicks

We saw the first Redpoll chicks in the garden yesterday. Two chicks were looking for food in the feed leftovers from this winter. We usually see  the first chicks at the same time every year.

Auðnutittlingur – Redpoll – Carduelis flammea

Redpolls breed more than once every summer and the eggs are most often 4 -6 in each breeding although more than four chicks are very seldom seen.

Redpoll – adult

The Pintail

Grafönd – Pintail – Anas acuta

The Pintail (Anas acuta) is a common duck and has a wide distribution all over the Northern hemisphere. In Iceland there are only around 500 breeding pairs, scattered all over the country including the interior.


The Pintail is a dabbling duck like the Mallard, only dipping its head in the water to find food, not the whole body.

Pintail chicks in Nature Reserve in Flói
Pintail chicks in Nature Reserve in Flói

The Knot

Rauðbrystingur - Knot - Calidris canutus
Rauðbrystingur – Knot – Calidris canutus

The Knot (Calidris canutus) is a visitor here on the way to its breeding grounds in Greenland and Northeast Canada. In the spring around 270,000 birds stop here and in the autumn their numbers are much higher. For them Iceland is the place to relax and feed on the long flight from their winter grounds in Western Europe.  The photos are taken near Eyrarbakki, South Iceland.

Knots in Eyrarbakki, South Iceland


Sanderla – Sanderling – Calidris alba

The Sanderling (Calidris alba) is a small wader, quick in movements, and only a guest in Iceland in the spring. It has a stopover here in May on its way to Northeast Greenland where it breeds. Its winter grounds are in West Europe all the way  south to Namibia in West Africa.

Some Sanderlings are still in their gray winter plumage when they arrive in Iceland

It is estimated that around 25,000 birds stopover here, mainly on the Southwest coast.  The photos are taken near Eyrarbakki, South Iceland.