Blackbird singing

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It is as wintery as can be, snow everywhere and thick slabs of ice that probably won’t melt until who knows when. Despite this the Blackbird has begun singing, a sure sign of the changing of the seasons. So we can not but be hopeful that spring will come this year also. In the twilight at around six o’clock in the afternoon it’s beautiful vocal song can be heard in the neighbourhood.

If you are not familiar with it listen on the web of the British Library:
http://sounds.bl.uk/Environment/British-wildlife-recordings/022M-W1CDR0001524-1900V0

Hidden treasure

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Gjáin in Thjórsárdalur is a paradise of a place. It is a ravine, or narrow valley, with waterfalls, cold springs, interesting lava formations, caves and lush vegetation. The area is an oasis in vast contrast to the surrounding areas. The River Thjórsá  flowed there in olden days forming the ravine.

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The place is easy to reach in the summertime, about one and a half hours drive from Reykjavík and only a very short drive from the main road in Thjórsárdalur. It can be reached from two angles and both routes involve some hiking along footpaths or down rather steep paths.

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The footpath takes you by the historic Viking farm Stöng .  Visitors should trod carefully because of the fragile vegetation which is easily susceptible to deterioration by trampling.

Holding on in the cold

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Þistilfinka – Goldfinch – Carduelis carduelis

The Goldfinch is holding on and seems full of energy. It is amazing to see how tough this bird is. There has been a blizzard and the frost has been down to – 12°C and the Goldfinch does not even roughen its feathers. We first saw the Goldfinch in the garden January 24 and it has been an almost  daily guest since then.

Thin ozone layer

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If all winter days could be like this. Clear blue skies and the river, with the sky reflected in it, as blue as it can be . These are the days for skying and skating. One fault though is that the ozone layer over the country is at its thinnest now so every one is advised to use sun blocker.

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Charming village on the coast

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Eyrarbakki is a small town on the south coast. It was formerly the main harbour town  and trading place on the south coast.

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It is known for its quint old houses  that were built close to one another along the coast. Now it has become a popular place to live in and more and more houses are being renovated.

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The House (Húsið) is a museum of olden times. It is in one of Iceland’s oldest buildings from 1765. It was built by  Danish merchants who overwintered in Iceland.

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The village Eyrarbakki, along with its beautiful coastline,  is a popular tourist attraction.

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Winter birds

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Auðnutittlingur – Redpoll – Carduelis flammea

In the snow yesterday and today birds have streamed into the garden in search of food. We counted 90 Redpolls, 27 Redwings, 10 Blackbirds, 5 Fieldfares, 50 Starlings, a Snow Bunting and a Goldfinch.

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Redwing

This is a bunch of hungry birds and we went out twice today to fill the feeding trays with sunflower seeds and corn, and to give them bread crumbs and apples.

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Redpoll

Still alive

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Þistilfinka – Goldfinch – Carduelis carduelis

The Goldfinch is still in Selfoss and coming every day to our garden. There was some concern that a Merlin had caught it last weekend. A Merlin made a swift attack and caught a bird but thankfully it was not the Goldfinch as we thought. The next day it appeared again in the garden with the group of Redpolls.

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The Goldfinch is staying in the company of Redpolls behaving as they do and eating the same feed.  In the last few days it has had to endure a blizzard, frost down to – 13°C and the attacks of a Merlin and a Short-eared Owl.

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