Icelandic Birds

I’ll be getting back to the geographical stuff soon, but here’s something a little different.  In addition to geology I also enjoy wildlife, in particular birds (must be the dinosaur connection).  Whilst in Iceland I managed to get a few pictures, some decent others not so…have you got any idea how difficult it is to photograph a Puffin!  Damn things just don’t stay still long enough.  This is the best I could do…


Though they were a little easier to do as a group.


So those are my Puffin (Fratercula arctica) pictures.  A little better was this picture of a Guillemot (Uria aalge)



In the cliffs around Skógafoss Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) nest precariously on the rocks.




Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) and Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) can also be found.



At Jökulsárlón I did find it a little surreal to see ducks, in this case Eiders (Somateria mollissima) swimming around the icebergs.  I know they prefer colder climates and being out at sea, but it still made me chuckle.




I rather fond of my Redwing (Turdus iliacus) picture.  I got few good shots but this one is my favourite.

The Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) is a regular sight around Skaftafell though they do carry feeding and making their trilling sound all through the sunlit night…lovely birds, but a little less so at 2am 😉 I did find this particular individual on its nest.  So well camouflaged that I never would have seen it if it hadn’t made a hell of a noise landing.



For those twitchers reading this you may have noticed that the feature image was of the Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus).  This bird is particularly hard to see in the UK…basically you have to go to highest peaks in Scotland to have any hope, so you can imagine how excited I was to the guy at the top of the blog post.  He’d just seen off a rival and was looking pretty pleased with himself sitting on the little hillock.  That however was not my closest encounter.  The next morning this little chap sat on a fence post less than 2m from me a posed for pictures.




As you could guess I got a little excited.  It’s such an amazing feeling when a wild animal chooses to spend time with you.  To close I want to use a picture of this same Ptarmigan sitting in the middle of the road next to Skaftafell.



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