fredag den 13. juni 2014

Iceland 2014

Another year catching ducks in northern Iceland. A small project that started out with Red-throated Divers has evolved a lot during the last five years. This year we are mainly focusing on Long-tailed Ducks and Common Scoters but also taking DNA samples of Aythya ducks and catching Red-necked Phalaropes. Long days in the field though always rewarding. 

3/6 Barn Swallow at Sandur. My first swallow in Iceland.
5/6 Red-necked Phalarope. A favourite of mine.
8/6 Snowy Owl and Redwing local subspecies coburni at Hraun. 
8/6 Snowy Owl at Hraun. Rare in the lowlands. Tried to catch Greylags. 
8/6 Common Snipe at Sandur. 
8/6 Gadwalls at Hraun. Quite common this year.
As every year I had half a day off and went birding with Yann Kolbeinsson. After having gone to Melrakkasletta and Myvatn the last two years we wanted to try something new this year. We decided to go to Langanes, a peninsular in the northeastern part of the country. On our way east we saw a Lapwing next to N1 - a bird already found in April. 
We checked shorebirds (Sanderlings, Knots and Dunlins) heading for Greenland for more rare species. The first couple of hours didnt reveal anything good but then a light brown bird flew up on Yanns side of the car alongside two Golden Plovers. Quickly id'ed to species but the observation didnt last long as the bird flew west not to be relocated (has subsequently been refound). In nearby Thorshøfn we checked the gardens but didnt find anything else besides the local Redwings. A House Martin flew over the church and was a new icelandic tick for me. Impressive to see this species so far north. From here we checked small gardens along the coast all the way to Melrakkasletta where unfortunately the fog made conditions hard. At Grøtnes on the western side of the peninsular two Long-tailed Skuas where being harassed by the common Arctic Skuas. 
The highlight of the evening was not to be the BB Sand. In Oxarfjördur a Blue Whale was spotted from the main road. It was feeding only one km from the coast with a supporting cast of three Humpbacks, a White-beaked Dolphin and a Harbor Porpoise. The Blue Whale was watched and heard for almost an hour before leaving it and going back to Husavik arriving at 0130. The day ended with a nice glass of whisky.
10/6 Northern Common Eider at Langanes.
9/6 Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Langanes. The third spring record for Iceland. Only seen for two minutes.
9/6 Lapwing at Kelduhverfi. A successful breeding record with the first bird found in April. 
10/6 Blue Whale at Oxarfjördur. Picture taken from the coast, fantastic. 
10/6 Blue Whale at Oxarfjördur. The Blue Whales around Husavik rarely show their tail but this individual was really showy.
10/6 Blue Whale at Oxarfjördur. A really nice experience. 

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