Wrong destination – Iceland

Peðgrípur – Red-breasted Flycatcher – Ficedula parva

We have had endless rains and southeasterly storms in the last few weeks. With these quite a number of small European birds have been blown over here. This is not uncommon but this autumn is special because we have also had vagrants from Asia. The Red-breasted Flycatcher is one of these. It is originated all the way from Eastern Europe and Siberia. Its winter grounds are in Asia and instead going there it ended up in the North, in Iceland.


This bird was spotted in some shrubs in a garden near Vík in Mýrdalur, Southeast Iceland. This is a new bird for me! X

Selfoss from high up

River Ölfusá with the bridge and the church in the foreground

Selfoss is the biggest town in the south of Iceland about 50 km southeast of the capital Reykjavík. It is in the vicinity of some of the most popular scenic attractions such as Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss.

A view from the east with the stables and riding grounds in foreground

It is also the civic center for the region with a hospital, swimming pool, banks, supermarkets, library, high school e.t.c. The number of inhabitants is around 7 thousand.

View to the north with the Southern Highlands in the background

The pictures are from last weekend when a friend took me for a spin.

Common Chiffchaffs from Europe and Siberia

Gransöngvari – Common Chiffchaff – Phylloscopus collybita (origin Western and Central Europe)

In the last few days a lot of Common Chiffchaffs have been spotted  in Iceland, especially in the South and the Southeast. These are birds who have been swept out to sea by strong winds from Western Europe, some of them coming from as far as Siberia. They are annual vagrants in Iceland.

Gransöngvari – Common Chiffchaff – Phylloscopus collybita
Gransöngvari – Common Chiffchaff – Phylloscopus collybita (origin Siberia)

There is some variations between birds from different parts of  Eurasia. The European ones are more yellow than the Siberian ones and the birds from northerly regions are paler than the ones from the southerly regions.


In the last few days I have seen 19 Common Chiffchaffs in South Iceland.


Berries for all meals

Earlier in the autumn Thrushes and Starlings preferred bilberries (Icelandic blueberries) and crowberries but now they have come into the towns and gardens to eat.

Skógarþröstur – Redwing – Turdus iliacus

They are busy eating berries from the Rowans and some other garden shrubs.

Stari – Starling – Sturnus vulgaris



The autumn is a tranquil time of year. When summer comes to an end in the Northern Hemisphere the trees shed their leaves. This is their way of surviving the cold winter. The leaves change colour becoming yellow, orange and red, as nutrients are moved to the roots for reuse next spring.


In warmer parts of the world trees shed their leaves on the onset of the dry season. The shedding of leaves is a mechanism to survive cold or dry weather.


Summer birds still around

Þúfutittlingur – Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis

There are still some summer birds around although most have migrated to warmer climates. The weather has been exceptionally good, no harsh autumn winds yet and the temperature a bit higher than the average.  No need to rush when life is so good.

Maríuerla – Pied Wagtail – Motacilla alba

These are two of the guests that still honour us with their presence.