As it gets colder the birds frequent the garden and the feeding trays. Redwings, Blackbirds, Starlings and Redpolls are here in the dozens along with several Crossbills. When it gets well below zero, minus 12° C in the picture, the birds puff themselves up to retain body heat, like the Redwing here.
In the last two years Common Crossbills have scarcely been seen in gardens in Selfoss. The reason is probably the abundance of seeds in pines and spruce trees. They have therefore enjoyed their stay in Icelandic forests with enough food to sustain them.
This autumn they started turning up here to visit the feeding trays and in the last few days we have had up to 9 Crossbills here enjoying the Sunflower seeds that we put out for the birds.
The Crossbills are colourful and tame and a great addition to the usual guests. They brighten up our days during the darkest period of the year.
This summer we came upon these Arctic Skuas in Mýrar, West Iceland, a pair with their offspring. One of the pair was of the pale morph and the other the dark morph. Looking after their young one seemed quite a handful, keeping them busy chasing him him. As we watched them one of the pair, the white morph, stayed in its place and the others kept coming back. Not so different with us humans.
The Robin is always very welcome, such a delicate bird. We have not seen many of them in recent years and sorely miss them. A few of them were seen throughout the country in October. This one stayed here for three days and is hopefully making use of feed in some to other nice people’s garden now.
This little Goldcrest pair was diligently combing a Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) in the garden in search of food when I managed after many attempts to catch a picture of them. These delightful little beings are difficult to photograph as they are constantly on the move.
With added speed and a high ISO I managed at last to freeze a few moments in their lives.
Nikon Z50 og Nikkor 200-500mm lense. ISO 5000, speed 1/1000 og aperture 6,3.
For the fourth time a Black-and-white Warbler is reported in Iceland. This very tame little bird was spotted in a garden near Lágafell in Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It has been there for more than a week now, first spotted June 10.
The Black-and-white Warbler is a breeding bird in North America, migrating south to the Caribbean Sea and South America in winter. It makes its nest on the ground but spends most of its time picking insects from the limbs and leaves of trees.
The Black-and-white Warbler in Snæfellsnes Peninsula is very tame and has not been disturbed by the excited birders that have visited the area with their great big lenses.
A Great White Egret was by Markarfljót, near Seljalandsfoss, for about two weeks in the beginning of April. The Great White Egret is tall with a long neck and long feet. It has lacy, delicate plumes on its back that curl over its tail. It is a majestic bird, unliked anything we are used to.
This Great White Egret seemed to be in its ideal surroundings by the road near Markarfljót where it frequently caught small fish in the creeks and ponds that do not freeze over. It stayed calm despite the traffic and just kept on fishing as if it didn’t have a care in the world.
Great White Egrets are rare vagrants in Iceland. This is the ninth bird for Iceland and the last one spotted here in 2016. This Egret probably came from its breeding grounds in the Mediterranean where it can be found in all types of wetlands and by the shore.
In the last few days a Great White Egret has been spotted in several places in Reykjanes Peninsula. It might well be the same bird.
At last spring is in the air and our Icelandic migrants are returning home. After an exceptionally mild winter we had some very cold and snowy weeks in March and April. Now the temperatures are rising and we look forward to frost free nights. The days are getting longer and it doesn’t get dark until after 10 o’clock.
Fields and farmlands have now come alive with flocks of Greylags, Pink-footed geese and Whooper Swans. The Golden Plover has also arrived much to the delight of all Icelanders. Black-Tailed Godwits are also arriving although we have news that great flocks have still to leave the shores of Holland.
Redshanks can be seen, as well as Meadow Pipits and we have noticed a lot of Snipes this spring. Only a few Whimbrels have been spotted and we have not seen or heard news of the Wheatear.
There is also little news of Pied Wagtails and we sorely miss the pair that has resided here in the garden for many years. We love spoiling them with whole meal crackers and have waited patiently for their arrival. We think we might just have heard one in the neighbourhood today.
A Moorhen was staying at the pond in the center of Hafnarfjörður for about four weeks in March. This was probably a nice surprise for the ducks, geese and swans that have permanent residency there.
Moorhens are rare vagrants in Iceland but very common in most of Europe, Asia and some areas in Africa.
The Common Moorhen is very common in marsh lands, lakes and can even been seen in parks in cities. In areas that freeze in winter they migrate to more temperate climates in summer.