Tag Archives: Black Guillemot

Black Guillemots in the harbour

Teista – Black Guillemot – Cepphus grylle

In heavy winds the raging sea is not a pleasant place, not even for seabirds. The harbour in Thorlakshofn (Þorlákshöfn) is one of the places where birds flock to seek shelter in bad weathers. We saw some Black Guillemots there last weekend.

Black Guillemot still in winter plumage

The Black Guillemot, or tystie, lives by the sea, in rocks, cliffs and in islands along the North Atlantic coast as far south as Ireland in the east and Maine in the west. It breeds all around the Icelandic coastline and there are estimated around 20 to 30 thousand pairs here. The Black Guillemot can often be seen in seabird colonies along with other alcids. They usually stay near their breeding places in winter or take out to the open sea.

The male chasing the female

Stormy weather

Storm at the sea

In the last few days one storm after another has moved across Iceland. Most days the wind has  been between 15 – 23 m/s. This has disrupted travels and plans for Christmas. Life for sea birds has also been difficult in the turbulent sea.  Some look for shelter in fjords and harbours where the wind is not as harsh as out in the open seas.

The harbour in Thorlakshofn (Þorlákshöfn) is one of these sheltering places where birds flock in bad weathers.

Black Guillemot – Teista – Cepphus grylle (winter plumage)

Groups of Eiders, Long-Tailed Ducks, Red-Breasted Mergansers and Gulls have been there and a few Cormorants and King Eiders have been seen. Also a Black Guillemot and a Razorbill in the company of Little Auks.