Friday, 18 March 2016

Iceland in March: Iceland Gulls galore

A short trip to Iceland last weekend was not focussed on birding but presented me with some great opportunities to catch up with Iceland Gulls at Keflavik.  Hundreds were feeding around the harbour area, many close-up, foraging with Eiders and Fulmars.
Iceland Gulls breed in nearby Greenland and are a common winter visitor to Iceland.  Very elegant gulls with beautiful grey and white plumage.  I could have spend much longer watching them but it was bitterly cold and breakfast was calling...
Other birds seen included a pair of Barrow's Goldeneye, several groups of Whooper Swans, a flock of Snow Buntings and lots of Ravens.  The Northern Lights also showed well for us on our first evening.
Adult Iceland Gull - winter plumage
Iceland Gulls of various ages with a couple of Herring Gulls
First winter Iceland Gull
Adult Iceland Gull - breeding plumage
two adult Iceland Gulls
First winter Iceland Gull
Adult Glaucous Gull (rear left) and adult Herring Gull 

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - the sun shone briefly!
Skogafoss Waterfall - in strong winds
Troll Stacks near Vik, in very strong winds!
Kittiwakes (and huge numbers of Fulmars) were back on their nesting ledges
Awesome seascape at Black Sand Beach
Iceland was just emerging from the grip of winter: the scenery was awesome but the weather was a bit challenging  - snow, wind, rain, mist. 

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