Thursday, August 14, 2014

Iceland Day 6: So long Reykjavik

Trail through the Öskjuhlíð woods
And then there were trees. At Öskjuhlíð, right across the street from our last night's hotel in Reykjavik. We had seen trees at Skaftafell and along landscaped cityscapes, but here was a honest-to-god walk through the woods, of the sort that is rather rare in Iceland. And that meant the possibility of a handful of Icelandic birds I hadn't yet encountered.
Icelandic lichen on Öskjuhlíð boulder
There are actual woodland birds living in Öskjuhlíð. European ones, like the Goldcrest and the European Blackbird. I spotted the blackbird right away but it took a while to positively ID--very much a thrush in its wariness. And the Goldcrests, sounding just like their cousins, Golden-crowned Kinglets, filled the air with their high pitched twitters.
Icelandic mushrooms in Öskjuhlíð
Öskjuhlíð also has a touch of that Icelandic magic.
I don't think these rabbits are native to Iceland
And rabbits. Feral domestic rabbits, but rabbits nonetheless. A classic invasive species problem confronting Iceland generally.
Goldcrest silhouette
The other dominant Öskjuhlíð twitterer was the Common Redpoll.
Common Redpoll
I know redpolls from their occasional irruptions into my part of Massachusetts. But never before had I witnessed the vigorous begging of redpoll chicks.
Juvenile Common Redpoll
And then it was out of the woods. A path from the hill leads down to the shore.
Cool geological forms on the beach
And my final encounters with Iceland's birdlife.
Eurasian Oystercatchers, on the beach for once
See ya later, Common Eiders,
Common Eider family
White Wagtails in parking lot
and Redwings.
Redwing, rarely seen without worm in mouth
I avoided the touristy carved bird memento, priced just above my comfort level. Photos of the real things would have to do this trip.
Bird carvings are a popular (and expensive) Icelandic souvenir

So long Iceland!
 Ásmundur Sveinsson sculpture at his museum

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