Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

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The world’s largest great skua population is found in the Austur-Skaftafell distric

By Sara McMahon

  • Be careful when close to great skua colonies. The big birds will attack you to protect their nestsPhoto by Erik Christensen /CC BY

     

The company Öræfaferðir offers organized birding trips to Ingólfshöfði during the spring and summer months. The best time for bird watching in Iceland is in late May and June when migrating birds have arrived at their nest ing grounds. The most common indigenous birds in Iceland are seabirds, waterfowl, and waders. Around 380 species of birds have been recorded in Iceland to date. Only twenty percent of those, however, are regular breeders. Many birders come to Iceland during the summer to observe migrating birds—which they have seen at home with different coloration—in their summer plumage.

The world’s largest great skua population is found in Skeiðarársandur and Breiðamerkursandur in the Austur-Skaftafell district. The skua is an aggressive scavenger that will attack humans to protect their nests and other birds to steal their prey. Ingólfshöfði is also a popular nesting ground for puffins, and house sparrows generally nest near Hof in Öræfi.

One can also book guided birding tours with Björn Arnarsson, tel: 892-1869, and Brynjúlfur Brynjúlfsson, tel: 894-0262. 

Bustling birdlife. Go bird-watching when in Höfn. The most common indigenous birds in Iceland are seabirds, waterfowl and waders. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

 

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