Iceland – Impressions

Deutsche Version unten.

Three weeks in Iceland are over – it’s already a week that I am back home in Antwerp, but it took me so long to sort through my ~ 20 GB of photos. I guess that already says something about the diversity and beauty of landscape and wildlife (especially given I spent 7 days in the capital Reykjavik and being occupied with work. While I was quite disappointed with the Waterbird Conference itself (high price, low quality), this visit to Iceland was an extremely valuable chance for me to meet Icelandic colleagues and check out my field work sites and thus fulmar breeding colonies for next year. Although not planned, I even ended up ringing some fulmar chicks (the late ones from this season) as the local bird ringer from Akureyri invited me to give him a hand while showing me the most suitable nesting sites.

In the end my holiday-time shrunk down to seven days only, just enough to make my way from Reykjavik eastwards once around Iceland and visiting the (unfortunately very much frequented) tourist highlights. However, with a fieldseason of ~4 months in Iceland next year (and the year after), there will hopefully be some opportunities to visit some more of the fantastic Icelandic landscape next year, and with Hrisey and Vestmannaeyjar I have two fantastic field sites.

A very limited selection of my ~ 2500 photos below.

 

Iceland_Sites

Map of Iceland (source: GoogleEarth) with the ring-Road (which I mostly followed) in yellow. Hrisey and Vestmannaeyjar will be my future field work sites. Akureyri is the second largest town after the capital Reykjavik

Snaeffelsjökull

Snaefelsjökull – according to Jules Verne this volcano (hidden under a glacier) is the entry to the center of the world

Lavaflow_Snaefelsjökull

Old lava-flows on the flanks of Snaefellsjökull

Coastline_Arnastapi

Basalt Coast of Arnastapi at Snaefells-Peninsula

Pingvellir2

Þingvellir – here the American (right) and European (left) tectonic plates are drifting apart, forming a graben

Pingvellir

Þingvellir – in this part, the graben is filled with water

Geysir_Strokkur

Geysir Strokkur

Gullfoss

Waterfall Gullfoss – living up to its name in the soft evening light

Count_Puffins

Cap Dyrholey – how many puffins do you count? (Hint: all the little specs in the air are puffins, too!)

Puffin

Puffin 🙂

Pagkil - volcano-landscape

Þakgil – a wide valley, created by melted glacier-water, looking out on a huge sander

NamelessWaterfalls

nameless waterfalls near the ring road

Skaftafell

after 24 hours of rain finally sun again at Skaftafell

Svartifoss1

Svartifoss in Skaftafell Nationalpark

Svartifoss2

the bottom of Svartifoss

Sel

typical traditional turf-houses at Skaftafel, overlooking the huge Sander area in the South of Iceland

Skaftafell-Yoga

Relaxing (and stretching) with some Yoga after finally everything is dry again. Camping can be challenging in Iceland…

Jökulsarlon

Icebergs in Jökulsarlon – it nearly felt like Antarctica!

Seal

Harbour Seal playing hide- and seak among icebergs

NearlyAsAntarctica

some more déjà-vu Antarctica feeling

Wollgras

cotton grass

Ren

reindeer south of Vatnajökull

xx

turf-houses in Möðrudalur

Dettifoss - challenge for rain clothes

Dettifoss – the weather felt like being inside a washing machine: gusts of wind, rain and spray from the shear amount of water rushing down Dettifoss were challenging for camera and rain gear

Myvatn

Myvatn

Hverir3

blue sky again at the moonlike landscape of Hverir. Bubbling mudpots in a volcanic desert

Hverir2

bubbling mud pots and steam vents. An alien landscape at Hverir

Hverir

more of the steam at Hverir

Krafla

Lava fields at Krafla – still steaming with heat years after the eruption

Eisente

Long-tailed duck at Lake Myvatn

Kragenente

Harlequin duck at Lake Myvatn

Barrow'sGoldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye at Lake Myvatn

Hrisey2

Coastline at Hrisey

Fulmar-teenager

Fulmar fledgling (still a bit downy) on Hrisey

Hrisey3

view from Hrisey to the snow-flecked mountains – at nearly 66° North there is snow all year around

HriseyWaterfront

Waterfront in Hrisey – preferred means of transport is the tractor

theMostIdyllicCampsite

Can you imagine a more scenic campsite? Next to Seljalandfoss, back in the South of Iceland

 

Seljalandfoss1

after seeing many waterfalls, this is my favourite – Seljalandfoss at sunset

Sunset_Selfoss

sunset behind the curtain of water shooting down from Seljalandfoss

blacksand_whitewaves

black sand – white waves

Heimaey

view from Heimaey (Vestmannaeyjar) back to the mainland and the famous (after the 2010 eruption) Eyafjallajökull

Puffins_Heimaey

Heimaey holds the world’s largest colony of puffins. They are everywhere…

Toilets_Heimaey

… even on the signposts to public toilets :).

Drei Wochen in Island gehen schnell vorbei – und ich bin schon wieder seit einer Woche zurück in Antwerpen. Es hat allerdings einige Zeit gedauert, meine ~ 20 GB an Fotos zu durchzusehen. Ich denke, diese Menge allein sagt schon etwas über die Vielfältigkeit und Schönheit der Landschaft und der Tier- und Pflanzenwelt aus (vor allem angesichts dessen, dass ich 7 Tage in der Hauptstadt Reykjavik verbracht habe und dabei voll mit Arbeit ausgelastet war). Während ich über die Konferenz der Waterbird Society eher enttäuscht war (teuer und eher schlechte Qualität der Vorträge), stellte der Besuch auf Island für mich eine super Gelegenheit dar, mich mit verschiedenen isländischen Kollegen auszutauschen und meine Studienkolonien an Eissturmvögeln für die Feldsaison im nächsten Jahr in Augenschein zu nehmen. Etwas ungeplant wurde ich dann vom lokalen Vogelberinger in Akureyri auch noch zum Beringen von Eissturmvögel-Küken mitgenommen, und so durfte ich dann auch direkt die Zugänglichkeit der Nester und Spuckfähigkeit der Küken (das ist deren Verteidigungsstrategie gegen Feinde) testen.

Im Endeffekt ist meine eigentliche Urlaubszeit dann auf nur eine Woche geschrumpft, gerade genug um von Reykjavik ostwärts einmal um Island herum zu fahren und die (leider stark frequentierten) Touristenhighlights zu sehen. Aber mit einer Feldsaison von ~ 4 Monaten auf Island sollte nächstes Jahr hoffentlich noch Zeit bleiben, mehr von der isländischen Landschaft zu sehen – und mit Hrisey und Vestmannaeyjar habe ich sowieso schon zwei fantastische Field sites.

Oben eine Selektion meiner ~ 2500 Fotos.

 

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In Iceland

Deutsche Version jeweils unten

Very handy for me and my future project plans, the Annual Meeting of the Waterbird Society is in Iceland this August. Perfect to present my (still preliminary) results from Antarctic seabirds on the one hand, and take the opportunity to plan ahead, meet with some Icelandic colleagues and have a look at my future fieldsites on the other hand. Some vacation days are also on the itinerary for the coming 3 weeks. My first impressions from Reykjavik were very positive. Unexpectedly, the sun was shining yesterday, and it was a balmy 12°C. I loved the soft light. Today, however, grey clouds and rain dominated. Some first impressions from Reykjavik below.

Laugavegur

Laugavegur – main shopping street

OldHarbour

Old Harbour of Reykjavik

Tjönin & Kerk

Lake Tjönin and Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja

In Island

Sehr praktisch für mich und meine zukünftigen Projektpläne, findet das Annual Meeting der Waterbird Society derzeit in Island statt. Perfekt, um einerseits meine (noch vorläufigen) Ergebnisse zu den antarktischen Seevögeln vorzustellen, und andererseits vorauszuplanen, mich mit isländischen Kollegen zu treffen und meine zukünftigen Studienkolonien zu besichtigen. Ein paar Urlaubstage stehen auch auf der Reiseplanung für die kommenden knapp 3 Wochen. Meine ersten Eindrücke von Reykjavik waren sehr positiv. Unerwarteterweise schien gestern sogar die Sonne, bei lauen 12°C. Ich liebe schon jetzt das weiche Licht. Heute dominieren allerdings Wolken und Regen das Wetter. Einige erste Eindrücke von Reykjavik oben.