Iceland - from Vatnajökull to Stykkishólmur     p 3 of 4



The most eagerly sought of Mývatn's ducks is the Harlequin.  A dozen or so hang out along the turbulent Laxa River, which drains the lake as it flows north.

Harlequin Duck on river bank

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The male Harlequins fight among themselves over the dull-colored females, who will soon nest near the river.

   We mostly photographed these guys from the car.  Like most roads in Iceland, this one had no real shoulder, so we pulled the rental car over as far as possible, turned on the emergency lights, and hoped for the best.

   Barrow's Goldeneyes were also riding the waves of the Laxa.

   The area around Lake Mývatn has lots of thermal pools.  In fact, they generate all the energy for Reykjahlid village at a geothermal plant just north of the lake.  We took this afternoon off to soak our weary bones in the hot, sulfur-rich waters of Mývatn Nature Bath.  

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Greater Scaup  




This afternoon the pieces fell into place.   First, the sun was shining.  Then, we found a quiet inlet along the south edge of the lake where the waterfowl gathered.  Finally, we could pull the car off the highway onto a gravel track next to the inlet.   We used the car as a photo blind and did not have to worry about being smashed to bits by another car. 

   A male Greater Scaup obliged us with several poses. 

Then came the well-named Horned Grebe, which was nesting nearby.  This was Charlotte's favorite bird of the whole trip.   It is colorful and was tame enough to approach so that she got good photos with her 100-400mm zoom lens.    Horned Grebe


Snipe 5 June 2014

Again down the long lonely roads past Akureyri to Stykkishölmur, at the south end of Breidafjordur Bay.  Along the way I photographed this Snipe from the car.  One can only hope it really does have two legs.

Stykki is a pleasant little harbor town with lots of guesthouses and 3 restaurants.  At the Sjavarpakkhusid restaurant I was tempted by the tveggjalambahólmi (lamb goulash) but settled for the stakksey (seafood pasta).  The food was good, the prices breath-taking.. Stikki-harbor.jpg (342938 bytes)
Red-necked Phalarope  

6 June 2014

This morning we took a 1.5-hr ferry ride out to Flatey, the largest of the dozens of islands that dot Breidafjordur.  Our target is Red Phalarope, a bird of the high Arctic that usually nests here.  But not, apparently, this year.  Neither the birders nor British photographer Ian Newton, whom we soon met, have seen the bird. 
    So I have to be content with the ever-so-common Red-necked Phalarope, found all over Iceland and here practically in the way.

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