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Website:  www.focusonnature.com



in Iceland

For Birds and Other Nature

In The southern, western,
& Northern parts of the island


In an Enjoyable and Fascinating Land

June 5-14 2015

(tour: FON/IC-1 '15)

 A tour at one of the most Picturesque Places on Earth

Vatanjokull Glacier

Among the birds:
Shorebirds & Waterbirds, 
Seabirds & Landbirds, 

where they breed.
Including: White-tailed Eagle, & Gyrfalcon,
Redwing & Redpoll, Puffins & a Pipit, 
Wheatear, Wren, & Wagtail

White-tailed Eagle 

Due to limited space on the airline, Icelandair,
reservations and ticketing for this tour to be done by April 30.


A Complete Iceland Bird-List     Birds during previous FONT Tours in Iceland   

A List
and Photo Gallery of European Birds, in 2 parts:
Part #1: Grouse to Puffin
     Part #2: Sandgrouse to Buntings  

Lists with some Photos of:  
Icelandic Wildflowers    Icelandic Marine Life  

Photos of Birds and Other Nature, Scenery and Culture during previous FONT Iceland Tours:
in Sep/Oct 2013    in June 2012    in June 2009    in June 2006     another earlier tour

Highlights from Previous FONT Tours in Iceland

Tour Registration Form

The Razorbill, one of the alcids in Iceland.


Itinerary  (price follows the itinerary information):

Tour participants would arrive in Iceland, the morning of Friday, June 5  (having left North America the evening of Thursday, June 4).

Departure from Iceland would be on Sunday, June 14, (arriving in North America the same day). 

Flights to/from Iceland would be on Icelandair. FONT will arrange these flights in conjunction with this tour (either from/to Washington, New York (JFK), Boston, or Minneapolis). FONT can arrange connecting flights to/from these cities. 

A General Overview of the Tour and What's to be Seen: 

Eight nights would be spent in Iceland: 
two nights in the area of Reykjavik or Keflavik (the first & the last, Jun 5 & 13),  
two nights in the north along a pristine coast (we've seen Gyrfalcon, numerous Ptarmigan, nesting Pink-footed Goose, and Great Skua during our previous tours in that area),  
one night elsewhere in the north, from where we'll visit Lake Myvatn, (a very good place for birds and botany),  
one night in Stykkisholmur (by a beautiful bay known as Breidafjordur), 
and two nights along Iceland's southern coast.  

We'll take a boat-trip on that bay known as Breidafjordur in an area of islands to observe many birds, notably alcids such as Puffins and Black Guillemots, and possibly marine mammals. 
Breidafjordur, by the way, is the stronghold for the White-tailed Eagle in Iceland. We've seen that species previously there during our Iceland tours. Our birding near Reykjavik will include an area of cliffs with numerous seabirds: gannets, kittiwakes, 2 species of murres, razorbills, Arctic Terns, and fulmars.  

The birding in Iceland in the spring will be excellent (and fun!). There will be daylight much of the time, as northern Iceland touches the Arctic Circle, and in late-May/June, of course, the days are at their longest. 

Among the birds that we'll see during these lengthy days on Iceland will be a number in full breeding attire on their nesting grounds. 
A number of them (both summer visitors and year-long residents) are known by various names, depending upon, let's say, the nationalities of the human observers (visitors and residents).  
As Iceland is a part of Europe, some birds with names that we know in America, are called otherwise in "English" (as the British use another set of names). So, among the breeding birds: 
Red-throated Loon
(or Diver), Common Loon (or Great Northern Diver), 
(or Slavonian) Grebe, Oldsquaw (or Long-tailed Duck), Red (or Grey) Phalarope, 
Parasitic Jaeger
(or Arctic Skua), Common Murre (or Guillemot),  
Thick-billed Murre
(or Brunnich's Guillemot). 

From 8 to 10 million Puffins occur in Iceland in June.
More Atlantic Puffins nest there than anywhere else in the world.

In Iceland, the last home of the Great Auk, there are tremendous numbers of nesting alcids in the summer, with millions of Puffins, and thousands of Murres, Razorbills, and Black Guillemots. Also, there are large colonies of other seabirds including Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Glaucous and other Gulls, and Arctic Tern. And Great Skua will be seen where they breed (in fact, seen where more breed than anywhere else in the world!)

We should also see, during the tour, White-tailed Eagles, white Gyrfalcon, Whooper Swans, Ptarmigan, and various geese (including Pink-footed and possibly Barnacle), eiders (and other ducks), shorebirds including: Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, European Golden Plover, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, and Red-necked Phalarope.
In addition to all these birds, there are also: Redwing & Redpoll, and a Pipit; Wagtail & Wheatear, and a Wren.

During the tour, there will be a boat-trip during which we should observe numerous seabirds, and maybe some marine mammals. Among the possibilities: seals, porpoises, dolphins and whales25 species of marine mammals have been recorded in Icelandic waters. 

Back on land, there's more: the geysers, hot springs, and some truly spectacular Icelandic scenery. (The word "geyser", you may know, originated in Iceland.)

Icelandic scenery, photographed during a FONT Tour. 
This place, in the photo, is near the bay known as  Breidafjordur. 


More Details about Places to be Visited

Fri, June 5:  Arrival at Keflavik Airport in Iceland. Upon arrival, transferring of luggage to the hotel in the nearby sea-side town of Keflavik. Breakfast at the hotel, where, at the end of the day, we'll return to spend the night.
Our first day in Iceland, not too far from Keflavik, would nonetheless be a full & wonderful day on the Reykjanes Peninsula. We'll visit the outstanding sea-bird cliffs at Krysuvikurberg, where we'll see various species of alcids, kittiwakes, and gannets. Those cliffs are one part of a national nature reserve known as Reykjanesfolkvangur, and in the area we'll see extensive lava fields that are, many places, covered with green moss. Wildflowers and birds will be notable.
We'll stand right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, as fascinating as it is, geologically, to see it at just about the only place where it's above ground. Most of it, of course, south well into the South Atlantic Ocean, is along the ocean floor. 
A number of small towns rim the Reykjanes Peninsula. We'll visit a few of them, as we observe the nature along the seacoast and in the harbors. Towns include Hafnarfjordur, Grindavik, and Gardur. At the last of these, located at the tip of the peninsula, there's a cape jutting out into the sea, where from a lighthouse, we could see whales, dolphins, and many birds, often feeding in waters filled with fish.

Sat, June 6: We'll travel east along the southern coast of Iceland, toward the town of Vik
. In that area, we'll spend the night. (Vik is a good place to stay for a number of reasons, but one of them is that it is an Icelandic name that we can pronounce!)
Among some outstanding natural features in southern Iceland, to be on our agenda, would be the huge mass of the Vatnajokull icecap, which is Europe's largest ice sheet, and the 3rd largest in the world (after Antarctica and Greenland). 
Iceland's highest mountain, Hvannadalshnjukur (6,950 feet) sticks its head out above the ice.
Under the ice are several volcanoes, incluidng Grimsvotn. Some periodically erupt and melt areas of ice.
On large spreads of sand and gravel, near the many glaciers, the bird known as the Great Skua nests. More Great Skuas occur in that one part of Iceland
than anywhere else in the world. 
The southern Icelandic coast is very picturesque, where the mountains meet the sea. On the cliffs, there are more Atlantic Puffins than anywhere else in the world.
Waterfalls abound, including the impressive Svartifoss (named after its black lava columns), and Skogafoss, one of Iceland's most impressive waterfalls. 
Arctic Terns and Fulmars will seem to be "everywhere". Red-throated Loons, Harlequin Ducks, and Harbor Seals will be at glacial pools. 

Sun, Jun 7: A second day, and night, along the southern Iceland
coast. We may not want to leave, but we'll have to the next morning. During this day, we'll visit the Vatnajokull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, and we'll be passing right through that one part of Iceland with the most Great Skuas at any one place in the world.    

Mon, Jun 8: This day, we'll travel west and then north, without going into the city of Reykjavik (which we'll do later, before the end of the tour). Where we will go, however, will be the areas of the Great Geysir (Haukadalur), Gullfoss (Iceland 's most famous waterfall), and Pingvellir, along the shore of Iceland's largest lake. 
The Great Geysir is probably the most famous geysir in the world, and it gave its name (an Icelandic word) to all the others. The word means "gusher".
Geysirs are spouting hot springs. In the Great Geysir area, there are geysirs, hot springs, mud springs, and fumeroles. (All of these natural features have been given their own Icelandic names.)          
Unfortunately, the Great Geysir no longer erupts, as it once did like clockwork, but its neighbor Strokkur ("a churn") is very active, erupting every 3 to 5 minutes, to a height of over 60 feet. 
The name "Gullfoss" means "golden falls", after the persistent rainbows that are formed by spray on sunny days. The River Hvita, swollen by melting snow and ice in the interior, drops more than 100 feet over two falls. 
Pingvellir is an outstanding place, as scenic as it is, by the large lake, Pingvallavatn. It's also a famous place in Icelandic history, as it was the site of an ancient outdoor parliament about a thousand years ago. On the lake, we'll see waterbirds such as loons and various ducks. By the lake, in the area of Pingvellir, we may well see ptarmigan.
We'll overnight, north & west of Pingvellir, by a beautiful fjord called Hrutajordur.   

Tue, Jun 9: We'll travel, this day, across parts of northern Iceland (again, as always, scenic) toward Lake Myvatn. We won't be going as far as the lake this day, but instead focusing on the northern coast, and especially near Saudarkrokur
That town, by a large bay, began as a trading post. Today, it's known for fish processing. It's a pleasant town, around which there's much to see and enjoy.
One place, for example, is the Glaumbaer
Folk Museum, a complex based at an 18th-century turf farm. Rooms are filled with artifacts from previous centuries. A member of the household would usually read a Saga or recite poetry while others worked. Women would weave and spin, while men would comb wool and make ropes.
Buried on the grounds is Snorri Porfinasson, who is believed to have been the first European born in North America. That was in the year 1003, when his parents were on an expedition to Vinland
We'll spend the night near Saudarkrokur.

Wed, Jun 10: We'll leave our luggage at the hotel near Saudarkrokur, as we'll be going to spend much of this day in the areas of Husavik and Lake Myvatn
At Husavik, we'll take a boat-trip to see whales and dolphins. At Lake Myvatn, we'll see many birds. The lake has an area of 14 square miles, but it is shallow with an average depth of just about 8 feet. And so, light penetrates to the bottom, making the water rich in vegetation and nutrients, and thus very attractive to waterfowl. There's probably no lake in the world with more ducks than Myvatn. The numbers present in the summer can be staggering, with about 50,000 pairs and 15 species of ducks, in addition to swans, grebes, phalaropes, and other birds that occur.   
The lake contains about 50 islands, most of which are craters, looking like mini-volcanoes. They were, in fact, formed by gas explosions. There has been some volcanic activity in the area since the end of the Ice Age.
Observing the geological features and the numerous birds will make a most interesting day. Our overnight will be back by Saudarkrokur. 

Thu, Jun 11: There will be more scenic travel, this day, as we leave north-central Iceland behind, and head west, as far west as one can in Iceland, or in fact, Europe, to the Latrabjarg Cliffs. On those cliffs, which are 7 and a half miles long, and 1,650 feet high, there are thousands of breeding sea birds, including Puffins, Guillemots, Fulmars, Cormorants and Shags. And, in addition to the Puffins, there will be more alcids of other kinds than imaginable, with the largest populations anywhere of Thick-billed Murres (called Brunnich's Guillemots in Europe, and it is at the westernmost point in Europe), and an estimated one-third of the world's breeding Razorbills. Being at Latrabjarg will be a dramatic spectacle. Overnight near Latrabjarg.

Fri, Jun 12:  While on the north side on the large Breidafjorour Bay, we'll venture by ferry to an island in the bay, a rather special island, that we've visited in the past, called Flatey. It's one of the best places in Iceland to see nesting Red Phalarope. And even though the bird is called the Grey Phalarope in Europe, it is called Red Phalarope in Iceland, as it is red when it is there in its breeding plumage. Overnight by the big bay known as Breidafjorour.

Sat, Jun 13: During much of our last full-day in Iceland, we'll be in the area of the Breidafjorour Bay. As noted it a large body of water, and one in which there are many small islands. Many of them are not inhabited by people, but rather by birds. The area is the remaining haunt, in Iceland, of the White-tailed Eagle, with nearly all of the small population of that species in the country on or by those islands in the bay. 
Also on and by those islands there will be more puffins, and other alcids including murres and guillemots, along with shags, eiders, and other birds that we'll see well. 
We'll have some wonderful final looks at birds that we'll always relate to as Icelandic.
In the afternoon, we'll head back toward the Reykjavik area, with our last overnight in countryside before entering the city.   

Sun, Jun 14: We'll have a morning exploring Reykjavik, the only major city in Iceland, and one of the cleanest and most picturesque cities anywhere in the world. Over half the Icelandic population lives in Reykjavik, but that urban area population is not overwhelming with just 170,000 living there. That is more, however, than what there was about 50 years ago, when the population was less than 50,000. 
In the afternoon, we'll be at the international airport, outside Reykjavik at Keflavik, for the flight departing Iceland. Keflavik, we'll all recall, as the place where our Iceland venture had begun about a week earlier.


Oceanic birds, such as the Atlantic Puffin pictured above, 
abound in waters around Iceland. 
We'll see thousands of them. 
As noted, as many as 25 species of marine mammals  
have been recorded in Icelandic waters, 
including the largest of all the creatures on earth, the Blue Whale
We should see some whales and dolphins during the tour.

Dolphins off the north coast of Iceland.

The tail of a Blue Whale
(the largest creature on earth).

Additionally, our time on land in Iceland will be all the more interesting, 
with, in addition to birds, 
some truly spectacular scenery, fascinating geology, 
and a fine assortment of wildflowers. 

You may consider joining us on our Late Spring 2015 Tour in Iceland 
for a wonderful experience!               

The bridled form of the Guillemot, 
or Common Murre.

The tour starts and ends at the international airport in Keflavik, Iceland. 

US $3,195, per person, based upon double occupancy.
Single supplement: US $425.

All overnight accommodations.
Ground transportation & boat-rides.
Most meals: all breakfasts and lunches.
The services of the FONT birding leader.

Does not include: 
Air transportation. 
Drinks and any items of a personal nature. 

Focus On Nature Tours can handle your flight arrangements, to get the best fare.

Tour to be led by Armas Hill,
who has traveled in Iceland 19 times,
to see and share the birds & other nature.

 A deposit of US $500 is required to register for the Iceland tour.