Iceland is ‘out of this world’. The sheer volume of birds here is staggering, with an estimated six million Puffins alone, and nowhere else can you see Great Northern Diver, Barrow’s Goldeneye and the stunning Harlequin Duck breeding outside North America, except for this European outpost. Yet there is even more to this unique country; glaciers, an uninhabited stony desert interior, volcanoes, lava fields, countless waterfalls, a geysir which blows its top every few minutes, steaming fumaroles, bubbling hot springs, boiling mud pots, spectacular cliffs jam packed with seabirds, and various whales offshore. Even non-birding partners will love this trip. So, prepare for an amazing journey.
We fly from Manchester with Icelandair, and begin on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, where the rugged coastline is home to five species of Auk including Brünnich’s Guillemot, as well as Purple Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, and Glaucous Gull. We shall take a ferry to Flatey island, where we land in search of the rare Grey Phalarope, resplendent at this time in deep red breeding plumage! Other birds here include Red-necked Phalarope, Redwing, Snow Bunting and loads of Arctic Terns. Next we spend four nights near lake Mývatn, famous for its wealth of wildfowl, such as Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, and fourteen duck species including Barrow’s Goldeneye and Harlequin. Other birds to hope for here include Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Merlin, Gyr Falcon, Ptarmigan, Golden Plover, rusty red Black-tailed Godwits, Short-eared Owl and Common Redpoll. Nearby are the unearthly landscapes of Nàmafjall and Leirhnjúkur, where the steaming yellow earth and black lava will make you wonder what planet this is. We also drive into a desolate monochrome lunar-like terrain to look for Pink-footed Geese and to experience the awesome power of Dettifoss, as tons of glacial melt water pour 148 feet over Europe’s mightiest waterfall. Next we enjoy a whale watching trip in Skálfandi Bay and then return south, to do the ‘Golden Circle’, a collection of must see locations like the famous Geysir, and Gullfoss, where the torrent crashes 108 feet over two tiers of rock. We have a final night in Reykjavík, before catching our return flight home.
As numbers are limited, a prompt booking is recommended to secure your place.
What the price includes:
Return flights from Manchester to Keflavik with Icelandair, seven nights half board en-suite accommodation, all transport in Iceland, whale watching trip, return ferry to Flatey island, bird checklist and guidance.