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Birding and Wildlife

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Birding and Wildlife

Wildlife in North Iceland combines birds, sea mammals and land mammals. In North Iceland you can expect to see over 80 species of birds, 23 species of cetacean and 7 land mammals plus a Polar Bear now and then.

Some of the species you can expect to sea are the largest animal on earth, the Blue Whale, Grey Seal, Arctic Fox, Puffins, Gyr Falcon, Barrow’s Goldeneye to name a few.

The rich bird life of the North, distributed over widely varying habitats, displays a diversity seldom surpassed in Iceland. Wetlands are important as a habitat for many Icelandic breeding species, and of the Icelandic wetlands which are famed for rich bird life, several of the most renowned are in North Iceland. 

Mývatn lake and the nearby Laxá river are home to more duck species than any other place in the world, while examples of other wetlands include Svarfaðardalur and the islets at the mouth of Eyjafjarðará. Some well-known bird cliffs are located in the North, such as at Grímsey, Rauðinúpur and Langanes, besides the islands of Lundey in Skjálfandi and Mánáreyjar just eastwards, with their large puffin colonies. Skoruvíkurbjarg is one of the best places in Iceland to see Guillemots at nesting site and the best place to see the Northern Gannet.  The cliffs at Langanes hosts hundreds of thousands of the auks and guillemots of Iceland, including the uncommon Brunnich’s Guillemot.
The seaward end of the peninsula off which these islands lie, Tjörnes, has abundant puffins at points where it is easy to approach and observe them.

Many cooperative project are in North Iceland regarding Birds and Wildlife.

To explore wildlife www.wildlifeiceland.is

To explore and learn about whales we recommend starting in the Icelandic Whale Museum in Iceland www.whalemuseum.is

To explore seals the Icelandic Seal museum is where you would go www.selasetur.is/en and there is a project in progress to map birds and possible locations in the region so this is a newcomer that we look forward to exploring.

To explore birds we have numerous options among of those are www.birdingtrail.is where you can both learn a lot about the Icelandic bird scene and get good guidance.

Whale Watching

Watching whales has become one of the most common activities among foreign visitors to North Iceland. In fact, Húsavík and Eyjafjörður were among the first places in the country as a whole that offered whale-watching excursions.

The number of species, along with favourable weather and sea conditions, make North Iceland one of the best Icelandic areas for spotting whales. Skjálfandi and Eyjafjörður are sheltered bays, perfect for a boat ride on a summer's day, surrounded by birds and beautiful scenery. The experience becomes complete by seeing dolphins and minke, humpback or even blue whales play beside one of the particularly appealing oakwood boats used exclusively in North Iceland.

Watching a whale off North Iceland will fascinate anyone.

Seal Watching

Seals are incredibly beautiful and entertaining creatures and they are also said to be quite curious. Seal watching is a wonderful activity for the entire family.

The harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) and the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) are the only species to pup around Iceland, 4 other visit the island on a regular basis. Those species are harp seal (Phoca groenlandica), bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus), hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) og ringed seal (Phoca hispida). Walruses have also been found around Iceland but they are very rare.

The Icelandic Seal Center created and runds the multi-national project The Wild North which aims to research the effects of tourism on wildlife in the North Atlantic region and produce a set of guidelines and advice for both tourism operators, the grneral public and local and national goverenment authorities.

In 2011 a trail code of conduct was created for the watching of seals on the Vtansnes peninsula. The code of conduct can be found by clicking here.

Bird Watching

The rich bird life of the North, distributed over widely varying habitats, displays a diversity seldom surpassed in Iceland. Wetlands are important as a habitat for many Icelandic breeding species, and of the Icelandic wetlands which are famed for rich bird life, several of the most renowned are in North Iceland. 

Mývatn lake and the nearby Laxá river are home to more duck species than any other place in the world, while examples of other wetlands include Svarfaðardalur and the islets at the mouth of Eyjafjarðará. Some well-known bird cliffs are located in the North, such as at Grímsey, Rauðinúpur and Langanes, besides the islands of Lundey in Skjálfandi and Mánáreyjar just eastwards, with their large puffin colonies. Skoruvíkurbjarg is one of the best places in Iceland to see Guillemots at nesting site and the best place to see the Northern Gannet.  The cliffs at Langanes hosts hundreds of thousands of the auks and guillemots of Iceland, including the uncommon Brunnich’s Guillemot.
The seaward end of the peninsula off which these islands lie, Tjörnes, has abundant puffins at points where it is easy to approach and observe them.

See www.birdingiceland.is for more info.

 

North Iceland

Towns & Villages

Society and the economy have many faces. Whereas agriculture is the mainstay of rural areas, the towns depend upon fishing, industry, trade and a range of services, with each village having its own characteristics though they all prove hospitable hosts. 
The availability of food and accommodation and the possibilities at every location for recreation and entertainment make hopping between the villages informative as well as fun.   
In every case, the residents are lively and ready to celebrate.

Explore map with pictures

Map Akureyri Hrafnagil Grímsey Raufarhöfn Kópasker Þórshöfn Bakkafjörður Húsavík Mývatn Laugar Svalbarðseyri Grenivík Hjalteyri Hauganes Árskógssandur Dalvík Hrísey Ólafsfjörður Siglufjörður Hofsós Hólar Varmahlíð Sauðárkrókur Skagaströnd Blöndós Hvammstangi Laugarbakki Borðeyri