Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2022


Here is more from Albert Ryckman’s recent expedition to Iceland and its offshore isles.
“My visit to Iceland and Grimsey Island turned out to not be just about Puffins. Think about it.  Where do a lot of migratory birds start migrating from?
Why the Far North of course where the land of the Midnight Sun provides an ideal birthplace for a myriad of migrant species. Cohabiting the vertical cliffs with Murres and Razorbills were vast numbers of Kittiwakes (a glorified gull).”

   Puffins in their Burrows, Kittiwakes on their cliffs.

The only predator on the Island is the Skua also known as the Parasitic Jaeger.

“We only saw one on one occasion.  We were sitting above the cliffs photographing Puffins-in-flight.  Suddenly we watched Kittiwakes in their hundreds boil squawking from their unseen nests below us.  Turned out a Skua swept along the cliff face, selected his choice of fat chicks and then proceeded to devour it in front of it’s horrified parents.  We were told that after the visitors are gone the Islanders shoot  Skua.  We were also told that each year the Islanders harvest thousands of puffins for their meat by netting them in flight.” Skua (jaeger) with chick:

Razorbills–when I saw these birds in Farne Islands, I, too was enthralled. Most alcids are handsome or colorful or drab (murrelets?)…these are elegant. Golden Plover. Redshank. European Oystercatcher.

Godwit in flight

Arctic Terns–wear your hat and stay away from the young on the ground–they’re coming at ya. Guillemot. Goldern plover. Common Snipe. Red-necked Phalarope. Snow Bunting. European Oystercatcher. Redshank on a mound. Whimbrel in voice & in air.

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