Never before have we been visited by so many Bramblings. In late October big groups could be seen in the East, probably more birds than have ever been seen in Iceland. These have now spread around the country and we are so fortunate as to have our own group here the garden.
For two weeks now we have counted three to seven Bramblings every day. Yesterday there were at least seven outside our living room window. The Brambling is a breeding bird in Northern Europe and usually flies southwards for winter. Although the Brambling is a vagrant in Iceland, some instances of breeding have been recorded.
These are beautiful birds and mostly peaceful so a good addition to our usual lot. We hope they will join our group of garden birds, Redpolls, Blackbirds, Crossbills and Starling, – and stay for the winter.
Reindeers are not native to Iceland. They were brought here in the years 1771 to 1787, in four trips, from Finnmark, North Scandinavia.The reindeers have mostly been located in Northeast Iceland and have thrived well there. In the last few decades their distribution has been increasing to the east and southeast, all the way to Glacier Lagoon (Jökulsárlón).
In autumn hunting is permitted but there are very strict regulations concerning the permits and the number of animals killed. Not everyone is content with the hunting of these majestic mammals but it plays a part in controlling their numbers in the fragile vegetation of the Icelandic Highlands.
The pictures are of a female reindeer and probably a young stag.
Once again we are visited by the Blackcap. This vagrant has come by our garden in the autumn almost every year for a long time now. They are not breeding birds in Iceland and most likely come from Scandinavia. They have been spotted all around the country this autumn.
This Red-flanked Bluetail is a first for Iceland! Two birds were spotted last week. These beautiful birds are supposed to fly south to warmer climates in winter. Their summer habitat is in Northern Asia and Northeast Europe, as far as Finland. They winter in Southeast Asia.
The Red-flanked Bluetail has been a rare vagrant in Western Europe but has lately been spotted more often, mostly in Great Britain. This one was obviously blown off course and ended up in Southeast Iceland, in the fishing village of Höfn in Hornafjörður.
The Wren is very busy these days catching winter moths. It seems to be a great part of its diet at this time of year. This clever little bird is very diligent and picks them off the walls and in crevices where they might hide.
One has claimed our house as his own private property, driving others away with force, and cleaning the moths off the walls like a perfect little housekeeper.
There are more Wrens this autumn than often before so this summer seems to have been a prosperous one.
The colours of autumn are always as fascinating. Every year the coming season amazes me in its beauty. Hopefully this will continue to be so for years to come. – Have a happy winter here in the Northern hemisphere.
The Red-eyed Vireo is an American vagrant and a near annual in Iceland. This autumn two have been spotted in Iceland, one in Stokkseyri and the other near the neighbouring village Eyrarbakki, in Floi Reserve.
This is the third year in a row that a Red-eyed Vireo is spotted in the same garden in Stokkseyri – nice coincident that. The birds that fly off course, way over the North Atlantic, will not survive the winter in Iceland. Their winter habitat is in warmer climates, in lowland forests in South America.
It is autumn and winter is almost upon us. Last night temperatures dropped to around zero, 0° C. There are still groups of Starlings here, and Redwings and Blackbirds eating berries. Most of the Redwings will be flying South soon.
Our new visitors this autumn, the Siskins, are migrants but whether they stay for the winter remains to be seen. There are still eight of them here. Once winter comes and the seeds from trees and plants become scarce Redpolls, Crossbills and Siskins will be dependant on the feed put out for them.
The Ptarmigan is getting ready for winter. Its plumage is changing from the earthen colours of its summer habitat to the white of the winter snows.
It seems there are more Ptarmigans now than often before. The summer was a good one for breeding and in the forests that we frequent we see groups of them. These are probably parents with their grown young ones from early summer but the chicks are often 10-12 in one breeding.