All posts by Örn Óskarsson

Blackcaps claiming territory

There are a lot of Blackcaps in Iceland now. In the last couple of days we have had 4 -5 of both genders staying in the garden. They claim territories and therefore there has been a battle between them. It seems that one of them has taken ownership in the garden south of the house and another north of the house.


The Blackcaps like apples and pears a lot and are in constant competition with Thrushes and Starlings for these delicacies .

Blackcaps are vagrants in Iceland and have in a few instances managed to survive through the winter here in the garden. They have the most chance of surviving when the winters are mild. We’ll see what happens this winter.

This photo was taken yesterday, November 16, of a male Blackcap.

Flói Nature Reserve

Red-Throated Diver – Gavia stellata

A good place to view and photograph the Red-Throated Diver and the Red-Necked Phalarope is in Flói Nature Reserve in the Southern Lowlands of Iceland. Fuglavernd– BirdLife Iceland runs a reserve there in co-operation with Árborg community. This is a wetland area rich with birdlife. The reserve is a river delta at the eastern bank of the river Ölfusá, in the Flói area not far from Selfoss.

Red-Necked Phalarope – Phalaropus lobatus

Blackbird – Turdus merula

This Blackbird is one of a group of eight Blackbirds that are in the garden now. This is a young male which can be seen from the dark brown colour and the colour of its beak, similar to the female’s colours.

Blackbird – young male

When it grows up it becomes black and the beak becomes bright orange-yellow. It also gets an eye-ring of the same colour.  This makes the adult male Blackbird one of the most striking garden birds. The song of the Blackbird is also very vocal so it does not go unnoticed.

Blackbird – Adult male

Today’s garden birds

This weekend my students at the local secondary school are counting their garden birds. Of course I took part in this interesting project and counted the birds in my garden in the hours between 11 and 12 am. I also took some photoes, but that goes without saying 😉

Chaffinch / Bókfinka

Weather: NE 12 m/sec, clear sky and temperature 0°C.
In this one hour I counted:
Redpolls  40
Starlings 27
Blackbirds 6
Chaffinches 4
Redwings 2
Blackcap 1

Redpoll / Auðnutittlingur

Nú um helgina eru nemendur mínir í FSu að telja garðfuglana sína. Ég tók að sjálfsögðu líka þátt í þessu skemmtilega verkefni og taldi garðfuglana mína á milli kl. 11:00 og 12:00 í morgun. Jafnframt tók ég myndir af nokkrum tegundum.

Starling / Stari

Auðnutittlingur  40
Stari 27
Svartþröstur 6
Bókfinka 4
Skógarþröstur 2
Hettusöngvari 1

The smallest bird in Europe

glokollur-5The Goldcrest is the smallest bird in Europe, weighing only 5-7 grammes. In 1996 the first known breeding in Iceland was confirmed and since then their numbers have increased. Today they are common breeding birds in spruce forrests.  For two years now they have been breeding  here and in spruce trees in adjoining gardens. We see these tiny little birds with their golden crown almost daily.

Overnight guests


Hundreds of Starlings stay in our garden every night. Just before dark they come from all directions and in huge flocks they fly in big circles before they land in the trees. They found this place to overnight 25 years ago and have now decided to return.

Starlings have overnighted in different places around Selfoss through the years, changing places regulary.

Three different Finches

This autumn  three different finch species visited the garden. All rare birds in Iceland.

Chaffinch / bókfinka

A male Siskin was here in the beginning of October, a female Brambling in the middle of October and now there are two Chaffinches, a pair.

Brambling / fjallafinka

It is getting darker in the afternoon and difficult to get good photoes of the birds, especially on cloudy days like today.

Siskin / barrfinka

But I managed to get these three photoes, –not as bad as I thought.

Grey-cheeked Thrush

A Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus was spotted on Friday, October 31, in Hvolsvöllur (a small town 40 minutes drive east from Selfoss). The Thrush was still there today when I came to look for it. This is a new species for me and it is the fourth time it is seen Iceland. – I was able to add the 200th bird to my list and here is a photo I managed to catch while it was still bright enough 🙂