Thursday, 6 November 2014

Iceland part 2

Hi all sorry about the delay in typing up the second part of my cruise to Iceland.
The boat docked in Reykjavik and I didn't have anyone to meet but was told to visit Seltjarnarnes, lake Tjomin and the nature reserve near the airport.
Reykjavik is the most northern capital in the world. Its largest building is the cathedral Hallgrimskirkja and it dominates the skyline. In other words its a great central point to help with getting around. Our ship had docked opposite the island of Vioey and you can get a ferry across to see the oldest house in Reykjavik. That was the sight seeing over and done with now for the land birds.

The western tip of the peninsula is known as Seltjarnarnes and is the easiest place for birders to search. Although its looks a good day it was blowing a gale.
In the UK we get excited when the first cuckoo is seen well in Iceland its the golden plover.

On my way down to the lighthouse waders such as ringed plover, turnstone and purple sandpiper were looking for any tasty bits. Arctic terns and puffins were tazzing past the end of the spit.

This id board helped give you an idea of what might be around at any time of the year but it was bitterly cold and I headed up towards the golf course and the small lake.

As I walked the path I noticed a skua flying toward me and I wondered if I would need to worry about being attacked. It didn't happen and the dark phase arctic went on its merry way. I was a bit disappointed cos I thought the scar would be a good story!

Looking over the lake one of the first birds was a family of whooper swans. The parents only had 2 juveniles but where very protective. Greylag geese, mallard, teal,white wagtail, meadow pipits. My only rodent of the trip ran across the path and a caterpillar was also on the path. Large numbers of arctic terns produced some nice pictures. The surprise bird here was a long tailed duck.

I walked around the lake i found a group of glaucous gulls with a possible iceland gull. This area is really nice and if you only have a day to bird watch in the capital then I cant complain about the quality.

I kept scanning the lake looking for red necked phalaropes but no sign. So I started the long walk back towards the ship and the family. It was a long trudge interspersed with more arctic skuas and terns.

Walking back I came through a very nice modern housing estate with a mixture of European and American cars/trucks. Its not the poor country who can't pay back the loans some councils would make you believe.
The gale forces winds and 10C made it feel a lot worse. I scanned the sea and started to find red necks where playing about in the waves, I think the eider really helps give an idea of size.

I have a great sense of direction and before I knew it I was in the local graveyard listening to redpolls, redwings and blackbirds. To think that some of these redwings will be flying to the UK in a couple of weeks after they had stripped the island of all its berries.

Next stop was lake Tjornin. Whooper swans use the island as well as black headed gulls to breed. I found my first wigeon here along with scaup and tufted ducks. The lake and the open fields and hedgerows make this in interesting area but I headed down to the newish nature reserve.
I wont spell it as you can see it from the picture. It seemed very new and small but it was trying to be an environmental centre as well so I wish it luck. A redshank was added to the day list which was creeping up to 40.

Heading back to the ship we enjoyed a wonderful sunset.

The next day was spent relaxing at the fabulous Blue Lagoon. The only bird seen here was gull beer.

The people of Iceland just love puffins and they can be advertised in many different ways but this is the biggest one I found.

1 comment:

laura bimson said...

Yep that looks like a trip worth going on.
Not sure about the id board, raudbrystingur is a red breasted merganser apparently. Long tailed duck and eiders great and your right the phalaropes are tiny. What is it you've fished out the blue lagoon?