Northeast Iceland Bird Watching Locations
Iceland is a paradise bird watchers cannot ignore. The lava formations transformed Iceland into a perfect location for nesting and breeding of various species of birds all around the island. There are many birding spots where bird watchers can admire a wide range of bird species, during bird watching season that opens in April and ends in August, including Breiðafjörðu, Papey Island and Hafnaberg. May and June are probably the best months when birders should visit the country. During these two months nearly 80 bird species can be spotted in various birding locations in Iceland.
Since Iceland is a great birding location, talking about the best spots in the country is a tough task, therefore we decided to focus on the birding spots that can be visited in the northeast part of the country, on the Birding Trail, to be more specific. Only in this region there are 31 sites considered the most interesting for admiring the Icelandic bird diversity, but birders can stop anywhere on the Birding Trail to see indigenous birds like the Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Brunnich´s Guillemot, Puffin, Kittiwake, Gannet and Fulmar; native bird species like the Red-throated Diver, Ptarmigan, White-tailed Eagle and Gyr Falcon (Iceland’s national bird) and many migratory birds that visit the country regularly.
The area around Lake Mývatn is the perfect place to start your birding adventure in Iceland. This wonderful birding location is a great spot for Gyr Falcons, Tufted Duck, Eurasion Wigeon and Greater Scaup. The entire region is rich in birds and birders are literally surrounded by various species that live in the area. Besides the main lake, there are also small lakes that shelter many species of ducks including the Long-tailed Duck. The scenery is picturesque and full of amazing places that can be discovered. From wetland to woodland, this region offers amazing views of the lakes and the lava formations Iceland is renowned for. If you find yourself in this area of the Birding Trail, you also have to stop at Höfði Park and be on the lookout for Common Redpoll, Winter Wren and Redwing that love to nest in the park.
Húsavík Area is another area on the Birding Trail that offers the opportunity to admire Great North Divers, Common Scoters, Common Eiders, King Eiders and Northern Fulmars. If you continue the road and you reach Lake Kaldbakur, you will also be able to discover a variety of wetland birds like Black-headed Gulls, Arctic Terns and even rare species lie Little Gull and Ross’s Gull.
This region is also a great place for whale watching so if you want to switch the perspective a little bit and to take a break from admiring bird species, you will be able to take a boat trip and see some whales.
Tjörnes and Kelduhverfi
From Húsavík you can easily reach Tjörnes peninsula, another great birding location that is primary known for the Rock Ptarmigan population. Besides these secretive birds that are pretty hard to spot, the area is also great for discovering Puffin colonies and Great Cormorants. When you are done with your Tjörnes adventure, continue your trip towards Kelduhverfi where you will discover a beautiful lagoon that shelters ducks, gulls and waders. Another interesting place in Kelduhverf is Vatnajökull National Park, a park where tourists can admire the Ásbyrgi, a gorge formed my flooding of the glacier river, Jökulsá.
Öxarfjörður and Melrakkaslétta
After you cross the glacial river, you enter the Öxarfjörður district where Winter Wren, Redwing, Short-eared Owl, Redpoll and Great Skua live.
Melrakkaslétta should be your next stop and it is a place where Gyr Falcon, Snow Bunting, Purple Sanpiper and a variety of duck species share the habitat.
Þistilfjörður – Langanes Area
The last stop on the Birding Trail should be Þistilfjörður – Langanes area. If you reach Þistilfjörður you might be able to see Iceland Gulls and if you continue your road towards Langanes peninsula you will be able to see Northern Gannets colonies and even Pink-footed Geese.