Seabirds of Iceland

This 2015 video is called PUFFINSLátrabjarg / Iceland.

From BirdLife:

Iceland: Volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs and seabirds

By Marguerite Tarzia and Holmfridur Arnardottir, 13 July 2016

Close to the Arctic Circle, the mid-Atlantic ridge emerges from the ocean depths onto land, creating a country full of geological wonder and amazing wildlife. If you want adventure combined with beautiful scenery and 24-hour daylight, Iceland should be your destination this summer!

Iceland is revered by marine biologists around the world for its biodiversity, including the largest animal to have ever existed on the planet – the Blue Whale. During spring and summer, Iceland boasts huge colonies of seabirds and if you stick to the coast during your trip you are very likely to see them as they return from their foraging trips to feed their chicks.

Currently there are 85 marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) identified by Fuglavernd (BirdLife in Iceland). These are mostly land based colonies and the seas immediately surrounding them, where birds feed and sit on the water.

This is the place for puffins

From April-August it is easy to catch a glimpse of the charismatic Atlantic Puffin as they travel to and from their nesting burrows. The local Icelandic name for the puffin is lundi. The best places to see puffins include Látrabjarg in the Westfjords Ísafjarðardjúp and Borgarfjörður eystri. The European population of the Atlantic Puffin is estimated between 9.5 to 11.6 million individuals, however due to continued declines and dramatic lack of breeding success, the species is now considered Endangered in Europe.

Another cliff-nesting species that can be seen in large numbers is the Northern Fulmar, a beautiful seabird (it is part of the same group as albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters) that appears to effortless soar on the wind. Be warned though about getting too close to this bird, as its nifty defence is to spit an oily substance at anything posing a threat. Like the puffin, this species has also recently been up-listed to Endangered across Europe.

You will also be able to see the Black-legged Kittiwake, Razorbill, Common Murre, Thick-billed Murre and Black Guillemot. Away from the cliffs you are also likely to see seaduck species such as the Common Eider.

Seabirds struggling in a changing climate

Iceland remains an amazing place to see seabirds, whales and dolphins. However the changes occurring in the marine environment due to direct and indirect human activities, are impacting food availability, timing of breeding and migration, and ultimately breeding success and survival.

Climate change is not limited to Iceland of course, however it is one of the places in the world where catastrophic breeding failure is being witnessed. The distribution of prey species such as the sand eel, herring and krill is changing as ocean temperatures rise and circulation patterns change. This is making it harder for birds to find and access food for their hungry chicks. In some locations there has been almost no puffin breeding success since 2005, and if this trend continues, the puffin and other Icelandic seabirds are truly in trouble.

Tips from locals: The BirdLife team

The BirdLife team recently headed to Iceland to hold a workshop with Fuglavernd and scientists to identify important areas in the mid-Atlantic (high seas, beyond national boundaries). We took advantage of being in Iceland to explore one the country’s marine IBAs – Vestmannaeyjar – or the Westman Islands. This small [archipelago of] island[s] to the south of the mainland boasts the country’s largest puffin colony, estimated at eight million pairs. Imagine those many puffins in the one place! You can get to the Westmans easily by ferry or plane (although you are most likely to see puffins in the surrounding seas), and there are also caves and volcanoes to explore. If you don’t want to travel too far but are still keen on peeking at a puffin, you can even take a boat trip from Reykjavik’s old harbor to see the species up close in Engey or Lundey (‘Lundi’+’ey’, or Puffin Island).

Waterbirds, seabirds of western France: here.

Iceland, football victory celebration and birds

This video says about itself:

27 June 2016

Iceland fans celebrate in Reykjavik after team knocked England out of Euro 2016

Iceland had never qualified for a major tournament prior to the European Championship, and it is the smallest country in the tournament. That didn’t stop the island nation from toppling England, with Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scoring after Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in the fourth minute from the penalty spot. Watch as Iceland’s fans, many of whom packed a town square in Reykjavik, go crazy during and after the historic win.

To contribute to the celebration, this 2015 video is about birds in Iceland, including snow bunting, redwing, Arctic tern, puffin and many others. It reminds me of when I was in Iceland long ago.

Iceland 2-England 1, football celebrated with birds

This video says about itself:

27 June 2016

See how Iceland celebrated knocking out England at UEFA EURO 2016 with their famous slow hand clap in Nice.

Iceland scores two goals. England one.

Iceland has reached the best eight countries in the European football championship. On Sunday, they will play France.

To celebrate this, three bird videos. One for each goal: two Icelandic videos, one British one.

This video shows a redwing near Lake Myvatn in Iceland.

This video is called Whale and bird watching in the northeast of Iceland. Places visited include Husavik, Myvatn and Langanes peninsula.

This video is called Stonechat Bird Chirping and Singing – Birds in Cornwall England.

Icelandic footballers beat Austria, to next round, celebration with birds

This 22 June 2016 video is called Iceland vs Austria 2:1 All Goals.

Iceland, which had never been at a European football championship before, now has reached the best 16 teams of Euro 2016 in France. They will play England.

To celebrate this, two videos about birds in Iceland; one for each goal.

This video says about itself:

29 January 2009

In Iceland’s remote Westman Islands, warming weather is threatening a beloved mascot: the Atlantic puffin.

This video says about itself:

Great Northern Diver – Husavik (Iceland) – 16th of July 2015

I was privileged to see these beautiful birds decades ago in a lake in southern Iceland.

Iceland 1-Portuguese favourites 1, celebration with birds

This football video is about Icelandic footballer Bjarnason’s goal in the Portugal vs Iceland 1-1 match at the Euro 2016 – 14/05/2016.

And it stayed one goal each. A success for Iceland, for the first time ever at European championships!

To celebrate, here this video about birds in Iceland.

The video says about itself:

Diverse bird habitats make Northeast Iceland the richest birding area in Iceland, in terms of number of species and abundance of birds. Nearly the entire European population of Barrow’s Goldeneye breeds here and nowhere else will you find higher density of the Gyr Falcon. The Northeast has the bulk of the Icelandic population of many species, such as Gadwall, Harlequin Duck, Common Scoter, Slavonian Grebe and Rock Ptarmigan.

And this video about birds in Portugal.