Iceland erarly August 2013 (1 Viewer)

cbutler

Well-known member
I will be on a cruise which will be visiting Iceland in the first week of August 2013.
The ports we will be visiting will be Akureryi, where we will be whale watching, Isafjord, where we could visit the local seabird colony and Rejkavik.
The birds I wish most to see are Brunich's Guillemot and Gyrfalcon are these possible in the area and also what other birds are possible.
Any info will be greatly appreaciated
 

Nohatch

Mad scientist
Could you give us a bit more information about the amount of time you have at each port? You'll see some birds close to the towns, but to get the most out of it you'll need to get out into the country (i.e. rent a car for a day). I can give you detailed itineraries if you let me know your schedule.

N
 

cbutler

Well-known member
Many thanks for the swift response.
Unfortunately the cruise ship schedule only permitts an 08:00 to 17:00 schedule in each port so time is stricyly limited.
I am trying to add to my WP list (currently 597 on Netfugel).
As the trip is a family holiday and I am planning a short birding trip to Finland in May I wish to keep the birding relatively low profile.
Looking at the list the ones that I need are Brunich's Guillemot and Gyrfalcon and if I can be in with a chance of seeing these on an excursion from the port then I will.
Whilst we are in Isafjord we can visit an island called Vigur which has a seabird colony if this colony holds Brunich's then I can add this to the trip and if Gyrfalcons are also there then so much the better, although I realise that this info may be sensitive.
We will be whale watching in Akureyi so hopefully seaduck and auks will be possible at the same time.

Many thanks
 

Nohatch

Mad scientist
Hm that doesn't give you a lot of time. I was going to suggest getting a car for a day in Akureyri and driving to Myvatn (for loads of waterfowl and Gyrfalcon). However, that will be difficult to combine with a whale-watching tour from Husavik (assuming you're on the 10-1 sailing). If you push it you might get 1.5 hours to look around and tick the Dimmu Borgir Gyrfalcon pair. They do breed all over the country so you could get lucky anywhere, this is just a very reliable and well-known site.
Same story with Brunnich's Guillemot - the best sites I know off are at Latrabjarg in the westfjords (a 4-5 h drive from Isafjordur), and at the tip of Snaefellsnes (a 3 h drive from Reykjavik). Vigur holds Puffins and Black Guillemot, but not Brunnich's I'm afraid.

OK here is an idea: don't do the whale-watching trip when you're in Akureyri. There's a new company that will start up whale-watching from a RIB from Isafjordur in 2013 (http://www.gentlespace.is/e_news.aspx?id=401) - looks pretty spectacular! There's not much else to do over there anyway (although the setting is ridiculously pretty) and you'll see the same whales and birds that you would around Husavik. If this doesn't work there are whale-watching trips from Reykjavik as well and they're pretty good (although not as atmospheric as they use new boats). How badly do you want to see Reykjavik? If you'd rather go out there's nice tours that can be done there; besides the whale-watching there is the spectacular (if touristic) Golden Circle, or you could soak in the Blue Lagoon.

Sorry I'm rambling a bit - in short: when in Akureyri get a car and do a day-trip to Myvatn, which will be great for the family (active volcanoes and stuff) and for birding (waterfowl & Gyrfalcon). Do whale-watching from Isafjordur, assuming the new company goes ahead. See Reyjavik and/or Golden Circle on your final stop, or take your last whale-watching opportunity.

Hope this helps!

N

P.S. you should see loads of whales from the cruise ship as well
P.P.S. you'll sail by Latrabjarg on your way south - maybe Brunnich's Guillemot at sea?
 

Edward

Umimmak
N is right that there are no Brünnich's Guillemots at Vígur (and Gyr Falcon very unlikely there in summer) but it's a nice trip anyway. However, when you sail between Akureyri and Ísafjörður you sail past two of the three largest (and most spectacular) seabird colonies in Iceland, Hornbjarg and Hælavíkurbjarg, both of which contain hundreds of thousands of pairs of auks (Brünnich's much more numerous than Common G here). Even in early August there should be huge numbers of alcids flying around here. I also saw Brünnich's Guillemot at sea while crossing the large fjord (Ísafjarðardjúp) near Ísafjörður this summer. On the way south to Reykjavík you pass the largest seabird colony of them all, Látrabjarg although you might be quite far from land at that point. Bone up on your flight ID of auks! Gyr Falcons do occur widely in the West Fjords area but it's just a matter of luck if you find them in such a short trip.

NE Iceland is THE place to see Gyr Falcons and several pairs occur at Mývatn. Juvenile Gyr Falcons will have fledged fairly recently and the parents will be very active feeding them but it's just a matter of luck. I've seen them at numerous locations around the lake and on the river Laxá (where there will at least be female and juvenile Harlequins).
 

cbutler

Well-known member
Many thanks for the responses.
I guess that I will have to hope for sightings from the boat and will certainly "bone up" on my flight ID of auks and hope for a flight view of Gyr Falcon.
I will look at the tour itinery to see if there are any any tours that will take me to sea cliifs near any of the mentioned seabird colonies as I guess that this is where my best chance will be of seeing Gyr's.
I will put a brief post on this thread after the cruise, once again many thanks
 

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