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Too late for iceland ?

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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 01:21   #1
Nathia
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Too late for iceland ?

Hello,

For quite sad reasons, i had to cancel my holiday plans for this summer, and now i'm thinking about buying an air plane ticket for iceland, to go birdwatching there for 2 weeks...

I heard that it will hard to find accomodations without reservations well in advance, but i was still thinking that i may find perphaps some couchsurfing or bed in schools
I heard also that renting a car was very expensive, but i could maybe hitchhike

But i finally heard that by the time i'll be there (25th of July to 8 of august), that ducks will allready be moulting and that lots of birds will allready have left the cliffs... Well, could someone confirm that. Because, for me it's quite a luxurious trip i'll probably do only once, so what do you think. Can i still do it. Beginning of August is still good for birding. Or would you suggest, that i better keep it for early july next year? (Where i am going to go then?? )

Thanks for your advices and sorry for my bad english...)

Nathalie
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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 09:15   #2
Andy Hurley
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Welcome to the forum Nathia,

I just got back from 14 days of Iceland and its better to plan ahead. Accomodation was getting scarce even when booking in January. I saw 63 species, but as I was limited in the amount of time I had in each place, I think that was quite good. The breeding birds with their chicks were great to see as I have only seen some in non-breeding plumage in winter. I used this site for the regular visitors. Its in Icelandic, but there are also scientific names and maps with a time bar, so the written description is not necessary. I was told that the birds start departing in early August and some ducks are already in eclipse plumage, but most I saw were still in breeding plumage. Although most of the breeding will be over, the passage migarants will be beginning to pass through again, so you might see birds I didn't get to see.

I wouldn't scrimp on car hire, unless you hire a 4 x 4 or AWD you won't be allowed to use the F-roads in the Highlands. Iceland is hitch-hiking friendly, but off the ring road there is not much traffic, so you need a lot of time. Hitch hiking and camping is ok and some people I know hired a good 4 x 4 and slept in it. I saw a few doing it while I was there. Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 14:11   #3
James Lowther
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I wouldn't scrimp on car hire, unless you hire a 4 x 4 or AWD you won't be allowed to use the F-roads in the Highlands
just to disagree a little with Andy on this point (more for posterity than to help Nathia sorry...)

hiring a normal small 2WD car (as we did) will give you access to the vast majority of roads in iceland, including almost all the tourist attractions, and all the key birding sites

i do not think there is a single icelandic bird (or mammal) species which requires travelling on F roads, pink-footed geese are commoner in the highlands but can be seen right by the ring road at varmahlith.

but even hiring a small car is expensive....

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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 22:03   #4
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Tanks for jour help....Actually, i've goût more time than money. So hitchicking serons a good option. But i really want to see the ducks in breeding plumage, as it's rare to see that in France. So if i understand well what you say, i light be too late for that?
It light be more reasonnable to go next summer earlier The ?
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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 22:06   #5
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just to disagree a little with Andy on this point (more for posterity than to help Nathia sorry...)

hiring a normal small 2WD car (as we did) will give you access to the vast majority of roads in iceland, including almost all the tourist attractions, and all the key birding sites

i do not think there is a single icelandic bird (or mammal) species which requires travelling on F roads, pink-footed geese are commoner in the highlands but can be seen right by the ring road at varmahlith.

but even hiring a small car is expensive....

James
Fair point James, you can get most birds from the ring road, but if you sleep in the car, you save accommodation fees, therefore there is more of the budget available for car hire. A bigger car makes a better bed. A 4x4 gives greater flexibility and the option to see the highlands by F-road, driving across fords is an experience in itself. Arctic Foxes are supposed to be more likely in the highlands too. A bigger car gets you higher off the road and therefore gives better visibility if the weather is poor, less spray from the road hits the windscreen.
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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 22:10   #6
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Tanks for jour help....Actually, i've goût more time than money. So hitchicking serons a good option. But i really want to see the ducks in breeding plumage, as it's rare to see that in France. So if i understand well what you say, i light be too late for that?
It light be more reasonnable to go next summer earlier The ?
Probably, yes. Hopefully it will be sunnier as well. We had 11 day of rain, some quite severe.
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Old Friday 18th July 2014, 22:49   #7
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Hi nathia. Apart from long-tailed duck most ducks look the same in winter and in breeding plumage. So the same in Iceland in spring and france in winter. In summer they go into eclipse plumage which is not as nice it's true. Cheers James
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Old Sunday 20th July 2014, 13:13   #8
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Ok. All what you Said was really helpfull. I'm going to prépare that trip for early July next year and i'm Going to try to find a birding buddy for that trip. It will be low down the cost of renting a car and will make it more secure (I feel more confortable with hitchicking in the middle of nowhere than driving alone in the middle of nowhere, as i'm not very good in changing flat tyres!!)

So, this year, i might try the states of Brandenbourg and Mecklenburg - West pomerania in Germany. It might be not as exciting as Island, but i heard it was full of birds and beautiful landcapes...
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Old Wednesday 23rd July 2014, 15:48   #9
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Ok. All what you Said was really helpfull. I'm going to prépare that trip for early July next year and i'm Going to try to find a birding buddy for that trip. It will be low down the cost of renting a car and will make it more secure (I feel more confortable with hitchicking in the middle of nowhere than driving alone in the middle of nowhere, as i'm not very good in changing flat tyres!!)

So, this year, i might try the states of Brandenbourg and Mecklenburg - West pomerania in Germany. It might be not as exciting as Island, but i heard it was full of birds and beautiful landcapes...
I can only recommend your choice. Meckpomm is great, Darß-Zingst-Fischland for coastal stuff is very good and the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte for lakes and other stuff. Brandenburg is good too including Havelland for the Great Bustards etc, I'm going there in September to finally see the Great Bustard (hopefully)
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Old Friday 25th July 2014, 10:19   #10
Nathia
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Brandenburg

Thanks Andy,

I'm going to try to see the bustards too. Even if i don't have a telescope.

Have you allready been in the oder valley ? Is it good too ??? (Oups, i'm not anymore in the iceland subject !)
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Old Saturday 26th July 2014, 09:07   #11
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Hi Nathalie,
no, I haven't been that far east before, but I will go eventually. Rügen is interesting, but it is loosing its charm due to modernization to me.
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