Thursday, 2 June 2016

Iceland May 2016 Part 10 Homeward bound.

We might not have been away for long but at the time we seemed to have had longer than was actually the case.  Daylight hours virtually 24/7 means you can maximise your days as you wish and we had certainly put a lot of waking hours in to our week.
Still, it was time to hit the road again and head south. Packing all done the night before we still had an hour or so locally before deciding to make breakfast.
Another crack at the drumming Snipe.
Common Snipe    Iceland
Over the week I must have taken a couple of hundred with very view worth keeping.
Common Snipe     Iceland
A passing Raven was a much easier target.
Raven     Iceland
However, we didn't want to hang around too long as we had set ourselves to targets for the day and our journey southwards.
The Black Guillemots at Akureyri and the Skuas at Borgarnes bridge. 
An 8.00am departure was agreed which was no problem when you are up before 5.00am. However, Mike was back in the lead 4-2 with his early rising!
It was a little sad to leave behind what had become our very comfortable home for the last few days.
The spacious dining room our hub.
Arnes Lodge     Iceland
We had totally ignored the lounge .
Arnes Lodge     Iceland
but had made good use of our particularly well equipped kitchen with it's industrial sized everything. .
Arnes Lodge  Iceland
So with another 1.8 litres of freshly brewed coffee consumed ( no wonder we were up early!) we were on our way south.
A stunning morning once again, we were not in a great hurry so of course stopped for a Redwing showing nicely.
Redwing     Iceland
but the real beauty for me was a close up Snipe.
Common Snipe     Iceland
He even let out a quick call especially for the camera.
Common Snipe     Iceland
As it happened, it was a lucky encounter as we had missed the turn off for route 1. Needless to say, the blame was mine as I was allegedly navigating. Half an hour lost but worth it in retrospect!
We arrived in Akureyri but were hugely disappointed to find not a single Guillemot to be seen so onwards we went. Our only distraction was another pair of Great Northern Divers in yet another lake and again, a few feet from the road. Of course by the time we had stopped, turned around and gone back it was a typical rear view from a distance. Curse those beauties!
A pair that were far more obliging were these Slavonian Grebes found in yet another spot.
Slavonian Grebe   Iceland
The sun was pretty bright by now so photographic conditions a bit more tricky.
Slavonian Grebe   Iceland
We continued on with little else recorded although we were both fairly certain we got a glimpse of a Merlin when passing through some moorland.
Borgarnes came and went with not a Skua to be seen, once again, the tide was out so all activity was a long way off so we didn't even stop.
Our "tick list" for the trip was somewhere between 55-60. Mike had done a quick tally and I had seen everything he had except for Purple Sandpiper. Our final spot was in Keflavik where there were large numbers of Brent Geese grazing in a field.
Brent Goose    Iceland
After looking for some convenient spots to no avail we decided to call it a day. We were both "birded out" by now.
We checked in to our marvellous overnight accommodation. 
Rose Cottage  KeflavikThe ultra modern "Rose Cottage" , a four bedroomed bungalow which we had to ourselves as the other 2 rooms were occupied by late night arrivals who we never met. This guest house is brilliantly situated for the airport and as with other places don't be put off by the description of "Guest House", shared bathroom even.
We had dropped lucky in our choices perhaps, but I wouldn't hesitate to go down the same route again.
Our total expenditure for the seven nights including petrol,food, accommodation and sundries came to £629 each so, with flights and car hire costs the total cost of the trip was under £1k. Had we gone mad on drink it might have been considerably higher. Our last night's meal, a Chinese, was the most expensive purely because we had a couple of beers each at around £5 a can. That's not far off the price of beer in the UK, mind you the food was very reasonable there too with by far the best deep fried fish with sweet and sour sauce ( which was't so good) for less than £10.
Whilst we were there we both decided we probably wouldn't go back for another birding trip as we had seen most of what is commonly on offer. That said, the lure of the Northern Lights, the stunning scenery and some unfinished business might have me changing my mind.
Great Northern Diver Iceland
We'll see!
However, I hope this little sampler will encourage others to go just like Mike and I were after reading of other peoples experiences.
It's not as expensive as you might think if you do some research.
Go for it!
Cheers Dave.


  1. Very enjoyable account Dave. Glad to see I am not the only one to suffer from Great Northern Loonacy 😊

  2. Thanks Rich, hope you enjoyed a bit of "Memory Lane" your blog having been largely responsible for our visit.