Far afield from Arizona and California, Suzanne, Gaby, and I arrived in Iceland on Monday the 9th of July, and headed north to the Snaefellsnes peninsula. On the way we had fine looks at two Red-throated Divers (Loons), numerous Arctic Terns, Greylag Geese, scads of Eider Ducks, and the ever-present Spotted Redshank. At Arnarstapi we peered over the bird cliffs at thousands of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Fulmars, and a few Great Black-backed Gulls. Closer to Olafsvik, where we spent two nights, we had Glaucous Gulls, Golden Plover, and Arctic Skua (Parasitic Jaeger).
On Tuesday we took a calm, two-hour boat trip under sunny skies from Sykkisholmur to see Puffins, Shags, and a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles! The bird cliffs at the northwest tip of the peninsula were good for all three guillemot species: Black, Common, and Bruennich’s (Short-billed Murre). We hiked around the Snaefell’s Glacier and Suzanne found us an Arctic Fox on the way home!
On our final day in Iceland we visited some of the more tourist-oriented sights, while still getting a bit of birding in. We saw a pair of beautiful Trumpeter Swans north of Thingvellir (site of the first parliament). A geyser and the awesome GullFoss Falls rounded out the day. In all, we saw 42 species of birds in Iceland, 4 of which were lifers.