The light in these short winter days around winter solstice often creates a beautiful atmosphere and mesmerising conditions.
The sun casts long shadows and the light is soft which is ideal for photographing.
The Ptarmigan blends well into the snow covered landscape in its winter plumage. Predators such as foxes, falcons and the human can not easily spot it in the winter twilight. This Ptarmigan has survived the hunting season which is limited to a few long weekends in October and November. Ptarmigan used to be a popular Christmas dinner in Iceland but as the stock has been decreasing in numbers and the hunting season limited, fewer and fewer families chose to eat this beautiful bird. That is something to be thankful for.
Today, December 21, is the northern winter solstice. It is when the sun’s elevation in the sky is at its lowest, i.e. the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Here in Selfoss sunrise was at 11:15 and sunset at 15:29 and the sun is just 2.7° over the horizon at midday.
After tomorrow the days will start to get longer, something almost everyone looks forward to. Happy Solstice 🙂
There are a lot of Common Crossbills in spruce and pine forests now but these settlers seem to thrive well in Iceland and have become part of the Icelandic fauna.
Cones are in abundance and the Crossbills are therefore well fed. They have been breeding since autumn and even now in December we have seen young chicks, although February is the month you would expect them to start breeding.
Chicks from the autumn are now feeding on their own but we still get them here in the garden where they can indulge themselves on sunflower seeds. The photos are from last week in Grímsnes, South Iceland.