Thursday, 16 January 2020

Iceland 2019/20

30th December 2019 - 4th January 20202
Mostly overcast, Snow, Rain, 4 hours of daylight
Species Highlights: 
Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Fulmar, Eider.

Booked as a surprised from my wife our 25th anniversary present, plan was to fly from Luton Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland and pick up Hire Car, all went to plan, weather was dry but overcast, a bit of site seeing through Thingvellir/ Pingvellir National Park, this view from Oxarafoss not many birds to be seen but Raven is the most common bird here.

A stop off at a volcanic crater called Kerid /Kerið

After arriving at our Appartment, Inni - Boutique Apartments at 

Hveragerði. I can recommend it was perfect with steam room and hot tub, much cheaper than staying at Reykjavik. The next morning we did the waterfalls Fulmar in large numbers buzzing around the falls. Then drove to Vik, the famous black beach, unfortunately the weather was not playing ball with heavy wind and rain. We carried on to Vik but weather just got worse, by the time we got to Vik we could hardly see the coast let along the beach!.


That evening we drove into Reykjavik along highway 1, not a nice drive as snow, blizzard conditions made it tricky but the Rav4 all wheel drive coped well and not one incident on the 40 minute journey. That night we were heading to the Perlan it overlooked the city so a good place to watch the New Year in. 
The locals said if you imagine as many fireworks as you can then times it by a 1000 that's how many firework you could expect. They were not kidding the whole of Iceland exploded!!

We sat watching for almost 2 hours, Iceland law dictates fireworks are only on sell for one week of the year and all profits go to search and rescue! Excellent ideal eh!
After a search for the Northern Lights which proved not to be  successful.

Next morning and 2020 we drove that highway 1 again into Reykjavik to add a few birds to our New Year list, around the Harper Center and Harbour is always a good start with Glaucous gulls a plenty.

 Iceland/ Glaucous Gulls size difference.

Rafts of Eider float around the harbour.

2CY Iceland Gull

Black guillemot also seen here. 

Next we walked into the local duck pond, Lake Tjörnin the weather was on the change and sleet/rain started and didn't improve, Whooper Swan, Greylag, and lots of Black Headed Gulls here.

Common gull, Wigeon, Mallard made up the rest.

That night we drove to Blue Lagoon, pitch black but boiling hot,a  outside bath of hot Springs , weird. a search for Northern Lights again, nothing seen.

Next day we drove to Kirkjufell Mountain, we'd been to Iceland twice before but never to Kirkjufell the most iconic landmark in Iceland. The drive was long and weather was snowy and wind swept, but after 3 hours we arrived 

The transport Rav4, great car.

Always birding we spotted this Snow Bunting in the Snow where else!

The Landscape was stunning.The mountain stand at 463m Kirkjufell or Church Mountain.

The road homeward, i think!

  Miles and miles of barren landscapes. 

Lots of Icelandic Ponies along the route , not minding the -8 temperatures.

Ice crystal cloud formation.

This the view from a petrol station, the petrol station have everything a real meeting place for all the locals.

The last night we drove through heavy snow into Thingvellir/ Pingvellir National Park, to search again for the Northern Lights but none spotted pulling over to look near the apartment Lauren manged this , we set up camera but by the time we were ready.....

It had gone! 
A real shame but a excellent trip if not challenging driving would recommend Iceland anytime of year, easy to drive and fabulous places to see, the right time of year great birds too.

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Friday, 10 January 2020


23rd December 2019 - 08th January 2020
Chew Valley Lake , Barrow Tanks, Newton St Loe, Slimbridge, Twerton.
Species Highlights: 
Great Northern Diver, Black Throated Diver, Long Tailed Duck, Ring Necked Parakeet, Whooper Swan, Bearded Reedling.

First of I'd like to wish all are readers a very happy new year, may 2020 be a great one!

Been a bit behind what with Christmas and New Year spent in Iceland (Blog Here) but starting of a quick round up. Its been very light last few days leading up to Christmas and beyond into the New Year making photography challenging, but Chew Valley on the 23rd there proved to be some blue skies, Bearded Tit had been see here recently but i was not lucky today.

Popped into Barrow Tanks to see the Divers still present must be 2+ months now. I like this shot as it shows the size difference between the two, GND first BTD behind.

Getting back to it, me and Lauren started our 2020 list, Lauren spotting the Black Necked Grebe at Stratford hide Chew Valley

Popped back to Barrow to, on way home into Newton Park to make sure everything was still present on the lake, Whooper, Tufted, Little Grebe still there.

Our first trip to Slimbridge on a very grey day with few birds moving around but picked up a few, surprised to see an eruption of Egyptian Geese and a Ruddy Shelduck.

Water Rail showing as usual under the Willow hide feeders.

A Ring Necked Parakeet had been seen 5 minutes from my home so it would have been rude not to do my best to catch up with this beautiful bird, didn't take too long and had great view , thanks to Michael Williams for the help.

He keeps returning to Michael feeders as he's putting out Grapes it seems a favourite food for the RNP.

As the Divers have been at Barrow Tanks I thought i'd spend a couple of hour with them, I managed so half decent shots, I think.

Great Northern Diver.

Black Throated Diver

Great Northern with I think a Stickleback.

Apart from the size difference the Black Throated in this winter none breeding plumage always looks much browner and softer.

Not only divers on the Tanks, 20+ Meadow Pipits feeding along the bank.

Also using some field-craft or walking around below the footpath managed to sneak up up this Common Sandpiper.

He knew I was there but nice to see these birds a bit closer or not flying away.

A real shame about the fishing line on both divers but at least they are both feeding.

Meeting up with Allan Chard we popped over road to see the Long Tailed Duck.

 From here I departed and drove to Chew Valley Lake and finally caught up with the Bearded Reedlings!

On hearing them pinging I popped out of the hide and got great views of 3 maybe 4 birds feeding in the reeds.

Shame about the light but what a pose!

Wayne Year Bird List: 86
Lauren Year Bird List: 81

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