In early June 1983 I was off to the land of ice and fire on a Wing Span tour with Tony Pym,we departed
from Heathrow by Icelandair and arrived at Keflavik early the next day.
The bus took us to our Youth Hostel in Reykjavik.I took a quick walk to the City Park Lake where I saw
Near Floi magnificent Black tailed Godwits were in summer plumage,however our main reason for visiting Stokkseyri was to find Grey Phalarope,numbers of this species fluctuate and it is still rare in
Lunch was east of Stokkseyri,this was our first experience of the chuck wagon and Judith's cooking.
Later in the evening we saw Ptarmigan in trans plumage,by a tributary feeding,it had red marks over its eyes ,mottled back,another bird possibly a female showed more summer plumage with its white wings in flight and pigeon like stoop in fading light around 10 20 pm.
A peculiar noise is emitted from the Ptarmigan and its Icelandic name is Hrupa and when heard or imitated it sounds like someone passing wind.
Left Sejalands at 0900hrs after breaking camp,breakfast in the rain,river water used for cooking and washing.Our next stop was Dyrholaey, a renowned sea bird colony however it was closed for the breeding season.The cliffs near by housed 2,000 Puffins,guillemot,razorbill were a spectacular sight on the Basalt rock formation.
Further on at Vik there was an Arctic tern colony at least 750 birds in diving territorial display.
The river Oxara (Axe) ran nearby,eventually in to the lake where red necked phalaropes were taking insects of the water with a sweeping action of their bills.
We drove to Geysir to see the spouting hot springs,the air was full of sulphur ,with bubbling ,boiling
At lunch we heard Snipe drumming,then on to Gullfoss,a large beautiful waterfall.The canyon below the falls is2,500 metres long and 70 metres deep.
icelanders call them Odin's chickens.
On Monday the 6th of June it was raining at breakfast I felt the rain on my neck as I consumed my porridge while the ever present snipe drummed close by,after breakfast we drove on to Bogarnes passing Hunafloi( the bay of baby polar bears).
At Reynivellir a fertile valley holding Whooper swans,at Hunafloi our first Purple Sandpiper.
Lunch at Borganes three shags on a rock and lunch without rain.After lunch a long drive to Blonduos
where at least 66 Harlequinns were roosting in the estuary.
On route along rugged terrain we saw a Raven attacked by Whimbrels,due to the fact it had one of their eggs in its bill.
Later in the day the chuck wagon was bogged down in lava dust,half hour later we dug it out and
continued to Laugar for lunch where we saw 66 red necked phalaropes and a pair of Barrows Goldeneye were displaying.
We arrived at Lake Myvatn late evening. It looked beautiful but more ice and snow was around than
expected.While sorting out the camping we added Slavonian grebe to our list.
That evening we tried the Icelandic specialitie dish "rotting shark" followed by the drink called the
On Wednesday the 8th it was a sunny day and there was a good view over Myvatn at Reykjahlid.
We entered a volcanic crater of considerable size and after some searching the eyrie was found,
tent. 20 kilometres from Myvatn it started snowing,at Husavik I bought a jumper and mitts now only
That night gale force winds,snow,rain all night,our tent was flooded out so Derek and I slept on the bus,it was still cold on the bus,the following morning three other tents had succumbed.
We made Akureyri for lunch and Anton found a Redpolls nest,moving on to Blonduos we stayed overnight ,it was cold sea watching the following morning and I saw a Blue faced Fulmar sometimes
At 20.05 hrs we found two White tailed Sea eagles,first seen in flight,pale white head,dark body and
conspicuous white tail which was fanned out by strong winds.
At 22.15 hrs it was sleeting and by 22.30 hrs it was snowing we left the eagles.
It was Monday the 13th of June we left Styykisholmur in sunshine and travelled along the coast to the Snaefellness peninsula,at lunch we viewed the biggest ice cap in Europe.
have been a Gyr's kill,returning to Stykkisholmur via Olafsvik.
A boat trip around Breidajiodur produced one Iceland Gull and 12 Glaucous..
On arrival in Reykjavik it was a surprise to see John Pierre out of hospital,our last full day in Iceland was spent in the Westmann Isles we landed at Heimaey the bird cliffs were outstanding,we had a ,boat trip on choppy seas.
A MEMORABLE TRIP