A whale of a time in Iceland

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25th July 2013


A trip to Iceland had always been part of our wish list, even more of a focus when many of the migrants which pass through Skye are Iceland bound. Our 9 day trip was all too short as this is a big country with a great deal to see, and we concentrated our efforts in the north. Breeding densities of waders was amazing and Whimbrel, Redshank, Golden Plover and Black-tailed Godwit were everywhere and breeding productivity was high. There are few natural predators, and an absence of domestic cats and Hooded Crows no doubt contributes to this. On Flatey Island, Red-necked Phalaropes were running around at our feet and our only disappointment was that the brilliant breeding plumage of Grey Phalaropes evaded us. A Gyr Falcon perched 20 feet from us but proved camera-shy. In all we recorded some 60 species and there are a selection of images in the Overseas Birds section of the Gallery. Though well known for killing and eating whales, Icelanders are now exploiting the lucrative whale watching market and well they might. A trip out from Husavik would have been good enough for the Humpbacks alone, but provided the real highlight of our trip with sightings of two Blue Whales. The largest mammal on earth, Blue Whales remain extremely rare, and the opportunity to spend some time, and photograph several dives will be a lasting memory - see the cetacean section of the Gallery.