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Three worthy stops for bird enthusiasts in Iceland

Partly due to climate change a growing number of bird species are showing up in Iceland. PIC Andrea Shaffer

Partly due to climate change a growing number of bird species are showing up in Iceland. PIC Andrea Shaffer

For bird enthusiasts there is no shortage of great bird-watching spots in Iceland. On the contrary, this is a haven for quite a number of migratory birds, although it must be said the numbers of many species are dwindling rather speedily these last few years.

Without doubt just driving leisurely around the island on the Ring Road will give you ample chances to see flocks of various birds in their natural setting. Mostly this has to do with how sparsely populated this island is and the fact the Ring Road runs right past a great number of rivers, lakes, streams and ponds of all sorts. A choice habitat for most birds.

you can choose from awful lot of places for privacy even if the place is teeming with tourists

But as always some spots are better than others. So much better in fact, that those have been turned into bird sanctuaries. Which, truth be told, is often not much of a sanctuary but that is another story and no fault of bird watchers.

Below are three special spots we love and bird enthusiasts will probably also love.

MYVATN LAKE

Myvatn lake and surrounding area is among the most beautiful places in Iceland. Chock full of interesting nature and one could waltz around here for weeks and weeks without once being bored. Although fewer and fewer birds are spotted here this is still a bird´s paradise in spring and summer and the lake being quite large it means you can choose from awful lot of places for privacy even if the place is teeming with tourists.

DYRHOLAEY CLIFF

Not just a fantastic spot for bird watching but nature watching as well. Dyrholaey is a massive and magnificent cliff jutting well out to sea near the well known Reynisfjara beach not far from the village of Vík. A must stop and a fantastic place for pics of various seabirds eking out a living on the cliff walls or on the top itself. Do be careful. Massive tourism has had a bad effect here already.

SVARFAÐARDALUR VALLEY

This little gem is overlooked by most. It is a small wetland area not far from the town of Dalvik. What is remarkable about this place is the fact this was the first bird sanctuary in Iceland and even more extraordinary, it became so because of the farmers that live here. Farmers that took it upon themselves to give a chunk of land to the beautiful birds enjoying this small wetland. That is pretty awesome in itself. Nice walkways have been built here and each year more and more birds are making splash here.
It would be foolish not to mention also Heimaey Island or Borgarfjordur in the East. Those often excellent for puffin watching. As for the capital itself, the best spot might be Reykjavik Pond and the coast of Grotta. Do get in touch if there is anything regarding travel here in Iceland you´d like to know more about. We´re here to help.

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