background image

 

 

Image of the Month

 

 

Eider duck in Jökulsárlón lagoon

 

June 2013

 

The button to navigate to another month is at the bottom of this page.... please scroll all the way down

 

The adventure in Iceland was quite out of this world.  What an experience!  I travelled with friends to Keflavik Airport and from there on to Selfoss.  We arrived in thick fog but this changed to driving rain along the coastal road and we had our first introduction to the incredible variability of the weather and landscapes of Iceland.

From the rain in Selfoss we drove to the mist and fog of Hali but visited Jökulsárlón.  Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the borders of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of Breiðamerkurjökull, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and best of all, it has blue and white glaciers!  I should think that most of the population of Iceland heard me squealing with excitement when I saw my first iceberg! 

As Vatnajokull calves, icebergs start their journey towards the Atlantic, making their way through the glacial lagoon and then out to sea.  As they break up, small icebergs end up on the beach and turn into a sparkling and magical sight against the black volcanic sand.

Eider ducks make their way majestically around the glacial lagoon and look superb with the ice forming a blue background for them.  Arctic tern also inhabit this lagoon in large numbers and are to be found flying around and occasionally dipping into the water to scoop up drinking water.  It was a great challenge to try to capture images of the terns with their striking red beaks and matching feet, with their reflections mirrored in the surface of the lagoon.

 

  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón-1.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón-2.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-1.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-10.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-11.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-12.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-13.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-14.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-15.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-16.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-17.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-18.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-2.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-3.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-4.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-5.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-6.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-7.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-8.jpg
  • arctic_tern_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-9.jpg
  • barnacle_geese__iceland-1.jpg
  • barnacle_geese__iceland-2.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-1.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-10.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-2.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-3.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-4.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-5.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-6.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-7.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-8.jpg
  • eider_duck_at_jökulsárlón__iceland-9.jpg
  • iceland_map.jpg
  • iceland_mileage.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-1.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-2.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-3.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-4.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-5.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-6.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-7.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_beach-8.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-1.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-2.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-3.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-4.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-5.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-6.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-7.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-8.jpg
  • jökulsárlón_lagoon-9.jpg
  • snow_bunting__jökulsárlón-1.jpg
  • snow_bunting__jökulsárlón-2.jpg
  • snow_bunting__jökulsárlón-3.jpg
  • snow_bunting__jökulsárlón-4.jpg
  • suourland_waterfall_detail.jpg
  • suourland__vic__church_and_lupins.jpg

We spent several days around the area known as Lake Mývatn.  This lake and its surrounding wetlands are an absolute mecca for ducks and waders... probably due to the vast numbers of insects that hatch out in the lake and fill the air in clouds.  Our vehicle was covered with squashed insects and so were we.  Mercifully, they weren't the biting sort of insect but they still had a habit of trying to get ears and mouths and noses - yuk.  Sometimes we saw what looked like thunder clouds in the sky but were actually towering swarms of insects... and of course, the local wildlife was very busy trying to eat them.  Despite the draw of the Great Northern Diver and the Red Throated Diver, my favourite birds were undoubtedly the tiny, busy Red-knecked Phalaropes. These little stars constantly whizzed about on the water frenetically hoovering up as many insects as they could possibly find... they have a long way to go before they make a dent in the insect population however!

 

  • common_scoter_at_lake_mývatn.jpg
  • great_northern_diver_lake_mývatn__1_of_3_.jpg
  • great_northern_diver_lake_mývatn__2_of_3_.jpg
  • great_northern_diver_lake_mývatn__3_of_3_.jpg
  • harlequin_duck_at_the_laxa_river__1_of_3_.jpg
  • harlequin_duck_at_the_laxa_river__2_of_3_.jpg
  • harlequin_duck_at_the_laxa_river__3_of_3_.jpg
  • ptarmigan_on_volcanic_rock__iceland-1.jpg
  • ptarmigan_on_volcanic_rock__iceland-2.jpg
  • ptarmigan_on_volcanic_rock__iceland-3.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__1_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__2_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__3_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__4_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__5_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__6_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__7_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__8_of_9_.jpg
  • red-knecked_phalarope_lake_mývatn__9_of_9_.jpg
  • seal_in_jökulsárlón_lagoon.jpg
  • slavonian_grebe_at_lake_mývatn__1_of_5_.jpg
  • slavonian_grebe_at_lake_mývatn__2_of_5_.jpg
  • slavonian_grebe_at_lake_mývatn__3_of_5_.jpg
  • slavonian_grebe_at_lake_mývatn__4_of_5_.jpg
  • slavonian_grebe_at_lake_mývatn__5_of_5_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__1_of_7_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__2_of_7_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__3_of_7_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__4_of_7_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__5_of_7_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__6_of_7_.jpg
  • volcanic_landscape_at_hverarönd__7_of_7_.jpg

 

The Gullfoss waterfall was spectacular and despite the gloomy weather, we spent time photographing both the waterfall and a Ptarmigan surveying the water.  I wanted to try to capture some sense of the power and movement of the water and experimented with slow shutter speeds... a bit marmite!  From Lake Mývatn, we went on a huge long trek to the seabird cliffs at Látrabjarg.  This was an 11 hour journey along roads that climbed up the sides of mountains and were simply dirt-tracks.  We passed snow, ice and glaciers, waterfalls, mountains and valleys.  Although it was an exceptionally long journey, I did end up  feeling as if I had seen a lot more of Iceland. Latrabjarg is the westernmost part of Europe.  The cliffs are home to millions of birds including puffins, gannets, fulmars, razorbills and guillemots.  At 14km long and up to 440m high, these are Europe's largest bird cliffs.  Sadly we didn't really have the weather conditions that we wanted and there were fewer puffins there than expected.  Having hoped for wonderful pink sunsets (at midnight) we had the company of small numbers of rather nervous puffins (they are still actively hunted in Iceland) and some rather grey skies.  The cliffs and nearby beach didn't disapoint totally and I'm glad to have seen this extraordinary spectacle... and to have stayed sufficiently far away from the vertigo-inducing cliff edge.

 

  • barrow_s_goldeneye.jpg
  • birdcliffs_at_latrabjarg__1_of_4_.jpg
  • birdcliffs_at_latrabjarg__2_of_4_.jpg
  • birdcliffs_at_latrabjarg__3_of_4_.jpg
  • birdcliffs_at_latrabjarg__4_of_4_.jpg
  • dunlin__1_of_3_.jpg
  • godafoss__1_of_4_.jpg
  • godafoss__2_of_4_.jpg
  • godafoss__3_of_4_.jpg
  • godafoss__4_of_4_.jpg
  • golden_plover.jpg
  • golden_plover__.jpg
  • kittiwakes_at_latrabjarg__1_of_3_.jpg
  • kittiwakes_at_latrabjarg__3_of_3_.jpg
  • long-tailed_duck_female.jpg
  • long-tailed_duck_female_preening_.jpg
  • long-tailed_duck_fighting.jpg
  • long-tailed_duck_fighting_.jpg
  • long-tailed_duck_male.jpg
  • long-tailed_duck_preening.jpg
  • meadow_pipit.jpg
  • pied_wagtail.jpg
  • ptarmigan_looking_over_the_waterfall__1_of_1_.jpg
  • ptarmigan_looking_over_the_waterfall__1_of_3_.jpg
  • ptarmigan_looking_over_the_waterfall__2_of_3_.jpg
  • ptarmigan_looking_over_the_waterfall__3_of_3_.jpg
  • puffins_at_latrabjarg__1_of_3_.jpg
  • puffins_at_latrabjarg__2_of_3_.jpg
  • puffins_at_latrabjarg__3_of_3_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg_wing_flapping.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__1_of_3_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__1_of_8_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__2_of_3_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__2_of_8_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__3_of_3_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__3_of_8_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__4_of_8_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__5_of_8_.jpg
  • teal_on_lake_myvatn.jpg
  • tufted_duck.jpg

 

We managed to go round the whole of Iceland in our short trip.  The main road is effectively circular.  We spent a bit more time watching the Harlequin ducks on the Laxa River.  If ever there was a duck that liked water, it's the Harlequin duck!  They jump and splash about in the waves and rapids and really seem to enjoy themselves in the water before stopping on a river bank or stone for a bit of preening.  

 

  • 1893-puffin_at_latrabjarg__1_of_8_.jpg
  • 2378-puffin_at_latrabjarg__4_of_8_.jpg
  • 4306-puffin_at_latrabjarg__5_of_8_.jpg
  • 6014-dunlin__1_of_3_.jpg
  • 6397-fulmar_at_latrabjarg__1_of_3_.jpg
  • 7892-puffin_at_latrabjarg__3_of_8_.jpg
  • 8194-fulmar_at_latrabjarg__2_of_3_.jpg
  • 9181-fulmar_at_latrabjarg__3_of_3_.jpg
  • 9597-puffin_at_latrabjarg__2_of_8_.jpg
  • bar-tailed_godwit.jpg
  • dunlin__2_of_3_.jpg
  • dunlin__3_of_3_.jpg
  • golden_plover__1_of_2_.jpg
  • golden_plover__2_of_2_.jpg
  • ptarmigan_at_sunset__iceland.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__6_of_8_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__7_of_8_.jpg
  • puffin_at_latrabjarg__8_of_8_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver_family__1_of_5_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver_family__2_of_5_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver_family__3_of_5_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver_family__4_of_5_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver_family__5_of_5_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver__1_of_3_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver__2_of_3_.jpg
  • red-throated_diver__3_of_3_.jpg
  • ringed_plover__1_of_1_.jpg
  • sunset__iceland.jpg

 

Towards the end of the trip, we had an opportunity to go back to wetlands and small ponds that supported the Red-throated diver population near Hali.  This time it wasn't raining quite so much and although the skies were rather grey and foreboding, I spent time lying in soaking grass photographing the interaction of a family with some very endearing youngsters.  

There were so many images that I wanted to take, and so much scenery that I didn't have time to attempt to capture that of course, I really want to go back one day.  The trip was organised by Natures Images and my team of travelling companions were great fun. I had a wonderful time.