It is the time of year when the Redshank is most noticeable. They often sit on fence poles calling loudly. The reason for this is that the chicks are out of the nest and hopping around within their territory.
This winter has been long and waiting for summer has tested the patience of Icelanders. Highland roads were blocked by ice and snow longer than usually. The interior attracts a lot of tourist and many have booked trips, cars, cottages and fishing permits months and even years in advance. For these closed roads are not an option. The roads to the tourist attractions, Landmannalaugar and Veiðivötn, in the southern interior, usually open around June 10. The road to Landmannnalaugar now opened on June 26 and the road to Veiðivötn on June 18. This was with the help of bulldozers. Most highland roads are still closed.
The Whimbrel is a wader, has long legs and a long curved bill. It is a migratory bird, a symbol for the coming of summer. Its song is very special, – listen to it here.
The Whimbrels are quite common in Iceland and breed all over the country both in lowlands and highlands. The eggs are usually 3 or 4 and the parents both take responsibility for keeping the eggs warm.
Despite this the Whimbrel is one of the birds that are listed as a threatened species in the UK. It has the status Red which means that the species needs urgent action.
I came across this beautiful Whimbrel this morning in the Bird Reserve in Flói. Already the ones who did not breed are starting to flock and thinking about their long flight back to their winter grounds in Africa.
Mount Hekla has been dormant since the year 2000. An eruption is expected but it is difficult to predict. Activity has been reported several times in recent years and in 2013 a general warning was issued. People were warned against going on the mountain and air traffic surveillance levels were increased temporarily. Now the whole of the volcano is covered in ice and no snowless patches which might indicate activity can be seen.
Mount Hekla has erupted many times in the last decades. The last eruption lasted from 26 February until 8 March 2000. An eruption this summer would not come as a surprise.
The Harlequin Duck does not go unnoticed in the males bright maroon, white and blue colors. The males do not give up and try to catch the attention of the females although breeding time is well on its way. The Harlequins like spring water rivers and the individuals that do not mate gather in flocks.
The photos are taken in Veiðivötn in the South Iceland Interior.
We enjoy watching out for the birds in our garden and feeding them. Spring and summer are something we look forward to – the time when everything comes alive and the birds start courting and nest making. But summer time is not all blizz. Almost everyday newly hatched chicks fall prey to overfed house cats. This sketch is an interpretation of a pair mourning the loss of a young one.
Mýtvatn is the place in Iceland where you can expect to see the Gadwall (Anas strepera). They can very often be seen in pairs because they find their mate as early as late autumn and stay together the whole winter.
Here we see a male vigorously chasing a rival away from his mate.
The Gadwall is known for stealing food from other ducks. They are widespread and increasing in numbers. In Iceland they mainly breed in the North, around Mývatn.
In our last Wagtail blog the White Wagtail had its beak full of nesting material. Now it has its beak full of flies and larva for its young ones. We have not spotted the chicks yet but they stay in the nest until they can fly. The Wagtail lays eggs only once each summer, not twice or three times like the Thrushes.