Tour At A Glance

Cost:

1975.00

Deposit:

400.00

Single Room Supplement:

250.00

Tour Code:

Relaxed with some long driving days and occasional early starts/late finishes

Group Size:

Ten plus Leaders

Harlequins Humpback Whale Great Skua Barrow's Goldeneye Black-tailed Godwit Northern Fulmars

Iceland - Summer in The Land of Ice and Fire

Date: Tour not currently operating
Leaders: Andy Jones

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE
We arrive at Keflavík airport in Iceland on an afternoon flight from London. We’ll drive across the Mid-Atlantic ridge to our comfortable guesthouse in the south of the country. There’ll be time for some birding on the way and we’ll have a great introduction to many of the breeding shorebirds of Iceland including Whimbrel, European Golden Plover, Common Snipe and European Oystercatcher. We will also encounter our colonies of Arctic Terns and Common Eider for which Iceland is famous, and may also see Merlin too.
Overnight South Iceland
 
DAY TWO
We’ll start the day by travelling to the south Icelandic coastline for a morning’s birding on the coast and marshes. Shorebirds, seabirds and wildfowl will attract our attention, all framed by a wonderful backdrop of stunning Icelandic scenery. Common Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Northern Gannet, Glaucous Gull and Arctic Skua can all be expected, while there is a chance of Long-tailed Skua also being present. Later, we’ll head inland and will doubtless encounter more of Iceland’s breeding shorebirds including Black-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover. We’ll also visit the geothermal springs at Geysir and watch the erupting boiling water of the geysers there. 
Nearby is the glacial river of Hvítá and we‘ll visit the spectacular waterfall of Gullfoss. We´ll look out for Redwing, Merlin and Gyr Falcon here.
Overnight South Iceland
 
DAY THREE
We head eastwards in the direction of the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano which caused so many problems to air travellers in 2010. Amid spectacular scenery, we search for the Icelandic race of Northern Wren at the base of the mountains. We’ll look out for Great Skua as we explore the rough ground near the snout of a glacier. We continue to the cliffs of Dyrhólaey and watch vast numbers of Atlantic Puffins, Common Guillemots and Razorbills. There are many pairs of Arctic Terns breeding near Vík and we’ll also encounter lots of breeding shorebirds. The scenery in this
part of southern Iceland is incredible and we’ll learn about the volcanic geology and glaciation of the area.
Overnight South Iceland
 
DAY FOUR
We spend the day on the Reykjanes Peninsula and begin by visiting some wetlands looking for Red-necked Phalaropes and Red-throated Divers. The coast here is comprised of lava flows and there will be many birds in the reefs and lagoons. Further inland we’ll look out for Rock Ptarmigan and Common Ravens in the lava covered lowlands. On the sea cliffs we’ll search for Brünnich’s Guillemot amongst the far more numerous Common Guillemots and there’s often good sea watching to be had here including Manx Shearwaters offshore and Atlantic Grey and Common Seals and Cetaceans should also be present. We’ll see the island of Eldey offshore and learn of the last breeding great auks which were killed here in 1844. There are colourful hot springs and fumaroles in the area and later we have the chance to relax in the warm, mineral rich, geothermal spa at the Blue Lagoon. We’ll look out for Snow Buntings and Northern Wheatears here as we take a lovely soak in the warm geothermal water, an amazing experience and one which will leave you feeling thoroughly refreshed.
Overnight South Iceland
 
DAY FIVE
We begin our journey north with a visit to Þingvellir National Park. Geologically fascinating — it sits astride the two tectonic plates — it is also culturally important as the site of the old, open-air Viking parliament. On and near the nearby lake we should record our first Great Northern Divers as well as the much wanted Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye, Black-tailed Godwits, displaying Common Snipe, Whimbrel and perhaps Rock Ptarmigan. We drive westwards and reach Hvalfjörður and do some coastal birding around the fjord. There’ll be shorebirds and seabird, which should include Purple Sandpiper. Near Borgarnes we’ll search for a real Icelandic rarity — Common Shelduck and hopefully Slavonian Grebe! It’s a magical drive to Snæfellsnes and the coastal town of Grundarfjörður which will be our base for the next two nights. We’ll see Glaucous Gulls, Whooper Swans, as well as shorebirds and Arctic Terns and perhaps Iceland Gull on the way.
Overnight Grundarfjörður
 
DAY SIX
It’s quite possible you’ll never have seen so many birds as you’ll see today. Seabirds, waders and wildfowl are everywhere and we’ll have great views of many familiar and not so familiar species.
The landscape of Snæfellsnes is amongst the most dramatic in Iceland with the great ice-covered volcano of Snæfellsjökull dominating the landscape and we have a busy day’s birding amidst this stunningly beautiful backdrop. We should encounter Harlequin Ducks and Red-necked Phalaropes as well as a string of other breeding shorebirds including Dunlin, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, European Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover. It’s a real treat to see these familiar species in their breeding plumage. We’ll also visit the bird cliffs and hopefully record all of Iceland’s breeding auks — Common Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin and, of course, Brunnich’s Guillemot. We’ll search along the coast for some cetacean species, including Orcas that are sometimes seen near the shore. We should also see Meadow Pipit, Snow Bunting and Northern Wren here. 
In the afternoon, subject to local weather conditions, we will take a whale watching excursion, where we hope to see Minke and Humpback Whales, Orca and White-beaked Dolphins. From time to time larger species such as Sperm and Blue Whales are encountered on these trips. We won’t ignore the birds and expect good views of many seabirds.
Overnight Grundarfjörður
 
DAY SEVEN
We drive across west Iceland and back to Reykjavík, no doubt encountering many of the species that have become familiar to us over the past few days. There’s the chance for a quick exploration of the capital before a cafe lunch and our afternoon return flight to London, where the tour will conclude.
 
 
 

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Return flights London/Keflavik, six nights accommodation, meals from dinner on day one to lunch on the final day,  4x4 or minibus transport, whale watching excursion [subject to local weather conditions], Blue Lagoon entrance fee, services of leaders and reserve entrance fees.
 
NOT INCLUDED
Travel to/from London airport and any overnight stay that might be involved, travel insurance, drinks, gratuities and any items of a purely personal nature.
 

 

Tour Reports

 

2007  2010

 

Testimonials

 

" I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Iceland and thanks for running the tour with a small group" S R Manchester

 

" The pace and the mix of birds,scenery, geology and history were particularly enjoyable and the fact that few species are present meant that we didn't have to rush form site to site but were able to enjoy every aspect. Andy was probably the best guide we have ever had. His breadth of knowledge and fluency in Icelandic made the tour an absolute joy" A & F H Suffolk

 

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