South-west Iceland 24th February 2nd March 2016

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1 South-west Iceland 24th February 2nd March 2016 This was by no means a birding holiday, but more of a trip for me and my wife to relax and spend some time planning the birth of our first child and celebrate our birthdays. That said, there was still lots of opportunities to watch birds daily in Reykjavik especially around the city's Old Harbour and the stretches of coast immediately either side of the city. We did hire a car for two days in order to see certain species, but everything else was done on foot around the city. Flights & Accommodation We booked a standard flights and hotel package with Edreams, which for two people cost us 595. The accommodation (Igdlo Guesthouse Reykjavik) was superb; clean, well located and brilliantly staffed.the guesthouse was self-catering, but there was an option for a continental style breakfast for 7 euros each per day. There was a kitchen and dining room for you to prepare your own food and free hot drinks available 24/7. A handy thing if your not a big eater in the morning and would just like some fresh ground coffee. The flights were out of Stansted leaving at decent times. Flying out at 13:20 and flying back at 16:20. The airport is around 45 minutes from Reykjavik at Keflavik and there are buses waiting for every flight. The bus drops you at Reykjavik's BSI, just 5 minutes walk from the guesthouse. You can pre-book your bus ticket, or just buy them when you arrive. Car Hire We hired our car from Hertz for 48 hours with the highest insurance package due to the snow. We never had any problems with roads, even on less well preserved roads. We were told we needed a 4x4, but the people at Hertz said that due to the locations we were travelling to that we should be fine in a standard Golf. The price of the hire for 2 days and the highest insurance package was 155. Iceland is renowned for not being cheap and we did leave our car hire to the last minute in order to hand pick the best weather for our trip. This price could be reduced by pre-booking and further days hire. Systematic Bird List Whooper Swan Common around freshwater site, but best seen at Tjornin Greylag Like Whooper, seen regularly near freshwater and also feeding by roads in the city where thawed snow had left grass Mallard A common duck at most freshwater site, especially Tjornin Wigeon three birds at Tjornin Teal A few seen from bus and car at roadside pools and single drake at Tjornin Scuap Single drake at Elliðavatn Tufted Duck Common at Tjornin and Elliðavatn Eider Commonly seen off every bit of coast we visited King Eider We found a previously unreported 1 st -winter drake at Reykjavik Harbour

2 American White-winged Scoter Twitched the returning vagrant drake at Keflavik Long-tailed Duck A handful of birds around Reykjavik, but more common at nearby Grotta

3 Harlequin Good numbers at Hafnir see map below Barrow's Goldeneye Easily found on River Sog, near Selfoss see map below Goosander Couple of single birds at freshwater sites, but flock of five at Elliðavatn Hooded Merganser Twitched the drake at Elliðavatn Great Northern Diver Couple of birds at Reykjavik and couple at Hafnir Fulmar Commonly seen off coast and flock some kms inland round mountain near Selfoss Cormorant Seen regularly off coast Shag One seen Reykjavik Old Harbour

4 White-tailed Eagle Distant and brief bird at Hafnir Merlin One seen from car en route to Hafnir Gyr Two birds seen poorly from car on Road 1 American Coot Twitched the vagrant bird in Reykjavik Oystercatcher Two birds Reykjavik Old Harbour Purple Sandpiper couple of small flocks around Reykjavik Black-headed Gull Upto five birds seen over course of week, all at Reykjavik Common Gull One, runt 1 st -winter bird at Reykjavik Old Harbour Herring Gull Seen regularly around coast Great Black-backed Gull - Seen regularly around coast Glaucous Gull - Seen regularly around coast Iceland Gull - Seen regularly around coast Black Guillemot Seen at several sites including Hafnir and Grotta

5 Short-eared Owl An asio was seen distantly from bus shortly after leaving airport Redwing Couple of small flocks found around Reykjavik Blackbird Several birds seen around city over the week Raven Commonly encountered Starling Commonish around the city Common Redpoll A couple of fly over flocks and group of five outside our guesthouse Snow Bunting Flocks seen at Grotta and Keflavik and inland near Selfoss Maps

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