Birder's Guide

MAR 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 68 of 73

67 April 2018 | Birder's Guide to Travel seaside town which has a church on a beautiful hillside famous to photogra- phers, and nearby is Dyrhólaey (63.4082, -19.1136), a large and accessible promon- tory with associated cliff-dwelling nesters, especially Northern Fulmar. It also has a small population of Atlantic Puffins, some of which can be approached closely. A visit to Dyrhólaey should also produce some confiding Parasitic Jaegers, Whimbrels, and European Golden-Plovers. Continuing east from Vik, one even- tually comes to the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón (64.0449, -16.1778), where the Breiðamerkurjökull (a glacier) reach - es all the way to sea level. Icebergs that calve from the glacier immediately fall into the lagoon and drift just a few miles from there into the North Atlantic, pass - ing along an outlet under a bridge in the Ring Road. Not only is Jökulsárlón a fas- cinating place geologically (and a major tourist trap), but the birds there are very cool, with Great Skuas being the primary attraction. A few skuas hang around the lagoon itself and its outlet to the ocean, and are generally quite accustomed to people and therefore very approachable. Sometimes they even hang out in the parking lot at the lagoon's gift shop, look - ing for handouts from the many tourists. There are also several nesting pairs of skua in the general area, and these birds around their nests are far less approach- able, of course! Jökulsárlón has a breed- ing population of Barnacle Geese, and is an easily accessible site for Snow Bunting and scads of Common Eider, along with the assorted common birds. One simply should not miss Jökulsárlón's roadside skuas, or the lagoon and its icebergs. A bit west of Jökulsárlón is Ingólfshöfði (63.8012, -16.6395), a promontory reach- able only by a kind of swamp buggy that can be hired. Ingólfshöfði is famous as perhaps the best place to observe and pho- tograph nesting Great Skuas at all stages of their nesting cycle, and as a side bonus, it offers one of the most spectacular views of the Icelandic coastline imaginable. In the far southeastern corner of Iceland lies the town of Höfn (64.2496, -15.2044). In the harbor you will be able to see and photograph Northern Fulmar, Common Eider, Black-headed Gull, and (probably) Black-legged Kittiwake, all at extremely close range. Northern Fulmars are abundant breeders in Iceland, but tend to hang out on remote cliffs and can be difficult to see closely, making the harbor an outstanding place to observe the ful- mars, which frequently swim around right alongside the docks. Just a few hundred yards south of the harbor on a large pen- insula is Ósland, home of a huge Arctic Tern colony, which the road passes right through. It is quite advisable to stay in your car while on the road there, lest you be attacked by dozens of birds! The spec-

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