Friday, 13 March 2015

Iceland 5th-10th March

 As soon as DW, GH, PB and myself picked up the hire car from the airport we drove the short distance to Keflavik where the White-winged Scoter was quickly located among a few Common Eiders, Red-breasted Mergansers and Black Guillemot. We then did another short drive round the bay to Helguvik Harbour, unfortunately security would not not allow us in, so we had to view the harbour from the top of the surrounding cliffs  where we were confronted by literally 1,000s of Common Eiders to trawl through with our scopes to find a drake King Eider which we eventually did, but the views were not really satisfactory. 
White-winged Scoter
Black Guillemot.
From Helguvik we drove to Reykjavik Harbour to hopefully see the Glaucous-winged Gull which hadn't been seen for a few days. We also failed to find it in the poor weather and failing light so made our way to our base at Grunadfjadur.
 DW scanning The Patch at Grundarfjordur sheltering from the wind and snow.
I managed to drive off the road and get stuck! Many thanks to the local police for pulling us out.
The weather was mainly atrocious heavy snow, strong winds every day and appalling light for photography, but the birding was brilliant particularly for white winged gulls. I have never seen so many Fulmars tens of thousands of them, wherever you looked out to sea or around the mountains they were wheeling around.
 Feeding by the fish factory sluice.

 We saw this King x Common Eider hybrid in the same place last year.
 Borealis Common Eider.
Up to 15 Harlequins were seen every day at Grundarfjordur.
A flock of 400+ Snow Buntings could be seen around the town.
All the images below were taken at Grundarfjordur unless stated otherwise.
 Iceland and Kumlien's Gulls
Adult Kumlien's Gull

 2w Kumlien's Gull
 Adult Kumlien's Gull
2w Kumlien's Gull
Adult Glaucous Gull
 Herring x Glaucous Hybrid?
Herring x Glaucous Hybrid?
2w Iceland Gull (Stikkisholmur) 
We also connected with a Gyr falcon here and drove back to Grundarsfjadur in a white out with nil visibility at times, at least DW managed to keep the car on the road, which was more than I did.
 1w Iceland Gull
Herring, Glaucous, Iceland, Kumlien's and a Thayer's candidate.
This gull was spotted the previous day by DW while I was looking at Eiders.
 Thayer's Gull?

White-tailed Eagle seeing off a Raven.
 This hybrid in Reykjavik Harbour was no compensation for the Glaucous-winged Gull.
On our last full day we ended up back at Reykjavik Harbour trying for the Glaucous-winged Gull again to no avail. We did see a Brunnich's Guillemot, Great northern Diver and a summer plumaged Black Guillemot.

 In the last hour before our flight home we went back to Helguvik harbour where 2+ Blue Fulmars showed very well among the 100s of Fulmars, 2 King Eiders were also found.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the Iceland story, especially liked the Harlequins as I've only ever seen them at Arundel WFT.