Eyjafjörður Birding Trail

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Eyjafjörður Birding Trail

1.Svalbarðseyri 

A small area by the shore that is populated with birds. Two ponds can be found there and the pond Tungutjörn has the richest birdlife. The area is a destination for migrant birds, e.g. Ruddy Turnstone(Arenaria interpres) and Red Knot(Calidris Canutus), from may to june. Waders can also been see there, seagulls, ducks and Slavonian Grebe(Podiceps auritus).  

2.Estuary(Óshólmar) of the river Eyjafjarðará 

It is estimated that about 33 different species of birds nest in the estuary of the river Eyjafjarðará or about 40% of all the species that nest in Iceland. The most common birds in the area are Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) and Common Eider duck (somateria mollissima), other common birds are Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Greylag Goose (Anser anser), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas Penelope) ect. Four species in the area are on the Icelandic Institute of Natural history red list i.e. Greylag Goose (Anser anser), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and Mew Gull (Larus canus). 

3.Kristnespond 

The pond is directly below Kristnes and by road number 821. West of the pond is a birdwatching house. It can be reach by driving along the old road that lies south from the side road up to Kristnes. Very nice place for birdwatching at spring. The main species to be seen are Slavonian Grebe(Podiceps auritus), Whooper Swan(cygnus cygnus), ducks and waders. 

Many good places for bird watching are within Akureyri and its surroundings. Four bird watching cabins are available for birdwatchers in the area, three within the town itself and one in the island Hrísey which also belongs to Akureyri. These cabins  are placed in the following areas, Naustaborgir, Krossanesborgir, at the estuary of river Eyjafjarðará and in the island Hrísey. In the houses are good conditions for birdwatchers and an overview with pictures of the most common birds found in the area. A map displaying the location of bird watching cabins and walking distance from parking can be found here for Akureyri and Hrísey. 

4.Krossanesborgir  
At Krossanesborgir which is roughly 1km you can find approx. 500 to 600 nesting pairs of birds of mixed species.  According to a thorough bird count 
made 2003 at least 27 species breed here. 
Among species found here are: Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), 
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus), Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), 
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) and Mew Gull(Larus canus), 
Blacktailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), 
various ducks and Gees such as Northern Pintail(Anas acuta) and 
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
as well as many other species of birds.  

(Review of the most common birds in the area.) 
The trails around the area and information boards with the history, geology, flora and
fauna make it pleasurable for guests to enjoy the area.

5.Rock formation Naustaborgir 

The rock formation are in a recreational area just north of the camping site Hamrar. Marking since the Ice Age can be found on the rocks as well as small ponds and rich vegetation. Paths lead to the area from Hamrar. A birdwatching house is in the area, on the west side from the pond. A path from the parking in the residential area of Naustahverfi leads to the birdwatching house. For a map of the area click HERE. Twelve to fourteen species of breedes, ducks, waders and the Black Headed Gull can be found in the area. Review of the most common birds in the area.  

6.Kjarnaskógur 

The forest area of Kjarnaskógur is one of the most popular outdoor area in Akureyri, about 3,2 km2 in size. This area was with all deforested in 1950 when the reforestation began. Since then around 1,5 million plants have been planted. Many birds species can be found in the forest area, e.g Mealy Redpoll(Cardeulis flammea), Winter Wren(Troglodytes troglodytes), Goldcrest(Regulus regulus), as well as rare species like Common Blackbird(Turdus merula) and Fieldfare(Turdus pilaris). There are many walkingtrails in the forest area. 

7.Hrísey Island

Hrísey has developed a reputation as a birdwatching destination. There are no natural predators on the island, making it an ideal bird sanctuary. The northen part of Hrísey, Ystabæjarland, is a privately owned nature reserve, and the killing of birds is forbidden on the rest of the island. Among the forty species of bird on the island are the Ptarmigan(Lagopus muta), Artic Tern(Sterna paradisaea) and Eider Duck(somateria mollissima). Hrísey is renowned for having the densest population of Ptarmigan in Iceland during the nesting season and also a large Artic Tern population. Hrísey is excellent for walks and marked walking trails are around the island. A birdwatching house is in Hrísey, for map please click HERE. Review of the most common birds in the area. 

8. SVARFAÐARDALUR BIRD RESERVE  and the exhibition BIRDLAND in Húsabakki

Svarfaðardalur Bird Reserve spans 8 kmof marshland in lower Svarfaðardalur valley. Over thirty various species of birds nest here every summer and even more pass by. Walking paths highlighting points of information and education lay from Dalvík and Húsabakki through the reserve. Bird watching-houses are in both places. Svarfaðardalur Bird Reserve is placed in a beautiful countryside surrounded by high mountains. Due to the walking paths you can easily spot many different species including Great Northern Diver and Slovenian Grebe. The Black-headed Gulls nest in a close community near Dalvík and the Common Gull is getting  more populated there as well.

 The exhibition BIRDLAND in Húsabakki presents birds in Icelandic nature and culture in a new manner for both children and grownups.  BIRDLAND attempts to bypass the conventional presentation of natural objects, scientific taxonomy and the solemnity which often characterizes exhibitions of this kind. Each bird has its own story to tell.

9.Grímsey 

Grímsey is the northern most point of Iceland and located on the Arctic Circle which crosses the island. Grímsey is a part of the municipality of Akureyri.  

The birdlife in Grimsey is unique with numerous different species and unusually dense populations. The birdlife is flourishing due to several reasons; rich fishing grounds are close by, no rats or mice are on the island and hunting of the birds and collection of their eggs has been reduced to a minimum since earlier times.  

During summer is Grímsey a home to nearly all of the main wader, moorland and seabirds that visit Iceland each year.  

Grímsey is one of the best places in Iceland for watching cliff nesting birds like; Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), Razorbill (Alca torda), Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) and Murre, both Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) and Thick-billed Murre or Brünnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia).  Grímsey has one of Iceland’s largest Tern nesting sites and one of the largest Puffin colonies.  Commonly seen in Grímsey are also birds like e.g. the White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), the Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) and the Northern Wheatear or Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe).  

The best season for watching birds is from April till August. After that time Migrating birds start to leave the island for warmer places and sea birds head out for the sea.  Most of the sea birds stay out on the open sea during the winter, but start returning in the end of February to secure a nesting spot in the densely populated cliffs.  

Note! Take good care not to go too near the edge of the costal line as the nest burrowing of the puffins has made the ground loose and hollow in some places.  

 

11.Siglufjörður 

During the summer months, the tidal sands of Siglufjordur support a large, diverses ecosystem.  The rising an falling of the tides invariably suggests mealtime for the birds here. When the tide isn‘t bringing small fish to the sands it is revealing an array of crabs and sandworms in the exposed shore.  For most of the year these sands are inhabited by Cormorants, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Long-tailed Ducks, Mallards, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Eiders and Purple Sandpipers. In spring, the regulars are joined by Fulmars, Arctic Skuas, Black-headed Gulls, Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns, Golden Plovers, Common Snipes, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ringed Plovers, Whimbrels, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Whooper Swans, Scaups, Wigeons, Tufted Ducks, Harlequin Ducks, Teals, Ravens, Redwings and Meadow Pipits.  Migratory birds found here are the Iceland Gulls, Red Knots,  and Turnstones.  Many other species are also attracted to this land of plenty: Greylag Geese, Pink-footed Geese, Gyr Falcons, Merlins and Wheatears.  Several species stop by these sands only rarely.  These include the Razorbill, Little Auk, Guillemot, Brunnich‘s Guillemot, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Shelduck, Common Scoter and Kind Eider.  Nesting has greatly increased in the areas surrounding these tidal sands since 1980. The Arctic Tern and Common Eider nest  extensively here. By 2000 som 700 Arctic Tern nests and 1000 Common Eider nests could be found. On the 20th May, 1998 Siglufjordur‘s tidal sands officially becam a protected bord sanctuary. 

Eyjafjörður Perceptibility chart
Perceptibility chart Eyjafjordur Birding Iceland right click to save

Hrísey

Hrísey is Iceland's second largest island, the largest being Heimaey in the Westmann Islands. It is covered with vegetation, being, for the most part, flatland which only rises to 110 metres above sea level at its highest point. The bedrock is basalt, about 10 million years old. On the southernmost tip of the island is a small village where most of the islanders live. There is a relatively new swimming pool to tempt the visitor, and also the chance to do a spot of sightseeing from the trailer of a tractor, which is perhaps something one does not experience every day!
The crossing between Hrísey and Árskógssandur takes about 15 minutes one way, and the ferry, Sævar, runs several times a day.

Kjarnaskógur woods

South of Akureyri is Iceland´s most visited "forest" Kjarnaskogur woods. The area has 2km long athletic course, walking tracks, picnic tables and children´s playground. Campsite at nearby Hamrar.

Grímsey Island

Grímsey is the northern most point of Iceland situated on the Arctic Circel. It is the home to one hundred people, one million seabirds and one of the biggest Puffin colonies in Iceland. It is a great place to enjoy the midnight sun around the summer solstice.
A ferry serves the island several times a week from the town Dalvík and flights are provided from Akureyri several times a week during winter and daily during summer.

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