Category Archives: Birds

A nice visit

Glóbrystingur – European Robin – Erithacus rubecula

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.

Lovely Goldcrest pair

Glókollur – Goldcrest – Regulus regulus

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.

The Black-and-white Warbler is a rare vagrant

Klifurskríkja – Black-and-white Warbler – Mniotilta varia

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.

Great White Egret

Mjallhegri –  Great White Egret – Egretta alba / Casmerodius albus

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.

Icelandic migrants arriving home

Hrossagaukur – Snipe – Gallinago gallinago

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.

Heiðlóa – Golden Plover – Pluvialis apricaria

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.

Heiðagæs – Pinkfoot – Anser brachyrhynchus

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.

Þúfutittlingur – Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis

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.

Common Moorhen in Hafnarfjörður

Sefhæna – Common Moorhen – Gallinula chloropus

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.

Bohemian Waxwing visiting

Silkitoppa – Bohemian Waxwing – Bombycilla garrulus

We had heard of a Waxwing being seen in Selfoss and when one appeared in our garden on February 1st we had actually been waiting for it. The Waxwing has now been with us for about five weeks much to our delight. This beautiful bird is in competition with the other birds that occupy our garden, i.e. Starlings, Redwings, Fieldfares and Blackbirds, and the Waxwing does not give in easily.  Apples is the item on the menu that they all crave, as well as the sunflower seeds, so there is sometimes a lot of commotion.

The Waxwing is a vagrant in Iceland and this one probably came to to the country in the autumn from Scandinavia.  Waxwings have been known to breed on and off in the last few summers in North and Northeast Iceland.

Colourful Starling

Stari – Starling – Sturnus vulgaris

Now when the sun has started climbing higher in the sky and spring not so very far away, the Starlings have begun to sing and their plumage is becoming more colourful.

Although February has just started and temperatures below zero every day, they have begun to claim territories with their song. This Starling male has great expectations for this spring and has started to defend part of the garden as his own. His task is a difficult one as there are flocks of 20-30 Starlings here every day in the feeding trays.  But he doesn’t give up.