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Westmann Islands (Vestmannaeyjar)
This archipelago of about 15 islands lies off the south-west coast of Iceland and is famous for its immense seabird colonies with more than one million pairs of seabirds breeding here.
Only Heimaey is inhabited but the most famous of the islands is Surtsey, the second largest of the group which rose from the sea in the 1960s as a result of spectacular volcanic activity and is now protected as a Scientific Reserve. The islands are virtually all grassland and rock with dramatic cliffs and offshore stacks.
 Notable Species
Northern Fulmar and Manx Shearwater breed and the colony of Leach's Storm-petrel on the island of Ellidhaey is possibly the largest breeding aggregation of this species in Europe. Great Cormorant and Shag are both breeders and there are gannetries on some of the smaller islands.
However, it is the auk colonies that have made these islands famous, Razorbill and Common Guillemot, Brunnich's Guillemot and Black Guillemot all breed and the world's largest Atlantic Puffin colonies are located here.
Landbirds are few but there are small numbers of Northern Raven on the islands.
Iceland frequently hosts vagrant Nearctic passerines and there are records of American Robin, Black-throated Blue Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet for the Westmann Islands. Gyr Falcon and Merlin occur in winter.
Birds you can see here include:
Northern Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Leach's Storm-petrel, European Storm-petrel, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Northern Gannet, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Merlin, Gyr Falcon, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Purple Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Arctic Tern, Common Guillemot, Brunnich's Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Little Auk, Atlantic Puffin, White Wagtail, Northern Raven
 Other Wildlife
Northern Bottlenose Whale and other cetaceans can often be seen during the ferry crossing.
 Site Information
 History and Use
 Areas of Interest
 Access and Facilities
The Westmann Islands can be reached by a daily ferry from Thorlakshofn or by air from Reykjavik. There is a daily bus service from Reykjavik to Thorlakshofn. Accommodation is available on Heimaey and boats can be hired to view the seabird colonies.
 Contact Details
 External Links
Content and images originally posted by Steve