Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Iceland 7-22 August 2007 joint WWT/Icelandic/IWSSG expedition

A selction of birds and views Iceland MJMcGill
European Golden Plover
....and chick

Lava sand beach and my reflection

Purple Sandpiper juvenile

Out of season Brunnich's Guillemot 20 August 2007
Green and Yellow house neath the mountain

Gyr in a heatwave!

Saenatasel Traditional Turf House and farm (we stayed here!)
Glacier, Eiders and Icebergs
Arctic Terns and Icebergs
Steaming Lava field and myself

Summary I was fortunate enough to be part of the summer ringing expedition on behalf of WWT to visit Iceland arriving on 7th and leaving 22nd August 2007. This report is intended to show what species I recorded during my time there when I was not looking at a Whooper Swan. Iceland is a visually stunning country with large numbers of birds, it offers volcanoes, Geysirs, Icebergs, mountains, vast open spaces and skies and of course the sea.

I went in very good company with WWT Caerlaverock, Reserve manager Richard Hesketh (the finder of the the White-tailed Plover that so many birders enjoyed in June). We were joined by staff from WWT Castle Espie, Dr Kendrew Calhoun, Seamus Burns, John Small and the BBC Autumnwatch team (with the effervescent and enthusiastic Kate Humble) for the first part of out ringing and satellite transmitter fitting sessions. We joined an already assembled team of Icelandic researchers headed by Olafur Einarsson in the valley that leads down to the Skagafjordur.

After a week in this area we transferred to the upland area of Myvatnsheidi with Sverrir Thorstensen and our team (including Claudia Mischler, Snaeverr Orn, Georg Orn, Olafur Einarsson, John Small, Svenja and for one night Seamus Burns) and then to the Highlands of Jokuldalsheidi (Richard, Claudia and I with some additional help from Poula Rose and a full team for a day headed by Scarpian) before heading back along the East/South coast to count Whooper's over a couple of days to Reykjavik. All the Icelandic people I worked and spent time with were so friendly, helpful and kind making my time here memorable, I hope to meet them all again.

M.J.M with 'ol blue eyes' one of the 376 Whooper Swans caught and ringed in Iceland between 5-22nd August 2007 all images by M.J.McGill.

One of many juvenile Red-necked Phalarope on one of many pools in Myvatnsheidi
Female Harlequin (Harlequeen) on the River Laxa at Myvatn.
Arctic Skuas and Arctic Terns over an Iceberg at Jokulsarlon
Great-Northern Diver on Saenautavatn

Snow Bunting in the Jokuldalsheidi

Species list

To be completed......

Whooper Swan- over 7,000 counted on the South Coast at a moutling/feeding site. Seen in all study areas in large numbers and with large families, many had 4-5 cygnets.


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