Bird Watching and Nature In North Iceland

Selection of multi-day tours

Bird Watching and Nature In North Iceland

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Skútustaðir

Tour ID: IN 40

Duration: 8 days /7 nights

Bird watching in Iceland: escape the crowds and step into the beautiful nature that North Iceland has to offer.
Small group size!

Highlights

  • Akureyri, the capital of the north
  • Bird watching daytours
  • Bird watching sites of North Iceland
  • Goðafoss waterfall
  • Lake Mývatn with abundance of bird life
  • Grímsey Island on the Arctic Circle with largest puffin colony
  • Hrisey Island
  • Nature reserve of Svarfaðardalur
  • Whales an birds in Skjálfandaflói bay

Departures:
21st - 28th May 2017
4th - 11th June 2017

Group size: min 8 - max 16

Price per person: from ISK 353.000

Included in the price:

  • Return transfers Keflavík airport-Reykjavík airport
  • Flights Reykjavík-Akureyri-Reykjavík, including airport taxes
  • 7 nights accommodation in dbl/twin rooms, including breakfast
  • 1x dinner (Grimsey)
  • Coach transfers as per itinerary
  • Local English speaking guide on tours and bird watching as per itinerary
  • Flights Akureyri-Grímsey-Akureyri, including airport taxes
  • Whale watching classic boat tour from Husavik
  • Ferry transfers to/from Hrisey Island
  • Admission fee to bird museum (Myvatn)

Single supplement from ISK 39.600

Day 1:     
Arrival to Keflavík international airport Iceland.
Mini bus transfer to Reykjavík airport (approx 50 min.) and flight from domestic airport in Reykjavík city to Akureyri (45 min. flight time). In Akureyri the local guide (bird expert) meets the group upon arrival at the airport.
Short sightseeing tour of Akureyri and transfer to a local hotel.
Hotel accommodation in Akureyri: double/twin/single rooms with private or shared facilities.
Free evening to enjoy Akureyri or the surrounding area.

Day 2:     
Breakfast at the hotel.
Day Tour to Lake Mývatn and Goðafoss waterfall.
The daytour starts with a stop at Goðafoss - a beautiful waterfall near the road no. 1. The short walk from the service shop to the waterfall offers great views and you may spot some of the waders or even a ptarmigan along the way.
The tour continues to Lake Mývatn. To name some of the highlights:
Skútustaðagígar pseudo craters, Höfði park, Dimmuborgir nature reserve, Hverir solfatara field at Námaskarð,  Ytri Neslönd farm and the bird museum.
Over 25 different types of ducks and many other species of birds to be seen in this area and we will have opportunity for bird watching in several locations. We visit also the Sigurgeir‘s Bird museum with good collection of birds and bird eggs – all species of breeding birds in Iceland but one can be seen at the museum.
A stop at the Nature Baths is a great way to end the day of sightseeing and bird watching. The location offers a fantastic view over the lake from the lagoon. Optional choice to take a soak in the warm waters of the spa.
Hotel accommodation in Akureyri: double/twin/single rooms with private or shared facilities.

Day 3:     
Breakfast at the hotel.
In the morning drive to Husavík, scenic fishing town where we join the classic 3-hour whale watching tour in Skjáflandaflói bay. For those who prefer it there is a possibility for upgrade to a 2-hour RIB whale watching tour (surcharge) - the speed of the RIB boats enables us to get quickly and as close as possible to the whales and dolphins, and due to the size of the RIB boats (max. 12) all passengers will get a good view. 
Instead of whale watching it is also possible to spend time bird watching on land in Husavik area.
After lunch break in the town we continue around Tjörnes peninsula with possible stops for bird watching and drive as far as Ásbyrgi. The enormous horse-shoe shaped canyon with lush vegetation is also filled with bird life. Further south along the road we reach Dettifoss waterfall, largest waterfall in Europe which drops into the deep canyon of Jökulsárgljúfur. Return to Akureyri via Lake Mývatn.
Hotel accommodation in Akureyri: double/twin/single rooms with private or shared facilities.

Day 4:     
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to Akureyri airport for morning flight to Grímsey Island (25 mins.). Flights are operated either with Twin Otter or King Air B200 aircraft (9-19 seats). Overnight bag only.
Whole day to explore Grímsey where we can observe puffins and other sea birds on the cliffs. The birdlife in Grimsey is unique with numerous different species and unusually dense populations. Largest colony of puffins to be found in Iceland is on Grimsey Island. During summer the island is a home also to nearly all of the main wader and moorland birds that visit Iceland each year.
Grímsey Island is also the one place in Iceland where you will cross the Arctic Circle on land.
Optional possibility for a boat tour around the island.
Evening meal at the local guesthouse.
Guesthouse accommodation on Grímsey Island: double/twin/single rooms with shared facilities.

Day 5:    
Breakfast at the guesthouse.
Free time to enjoy the island and observe birds or take an easy hike - a good choice of marked paths can be found on Grímsey Island.
Around noon depart the island by flight to Akureyri (25 min. flight).  Upon arrival transfer to Akureyri.  In the afternoon an easy hike to the wetlands close to Akureyri and bird watching, two hides are at this location.
Possibility for optional evening horse back riding tour.
Hotel accommodation in Akureyri: double/twin/single rooms with private or shared facilities.

Day 6:        
Breakfast at the hotel.
We drive along the western coast of Eyjafjörður to Árskógssandur from where we take the morning ferry to Hrísey Island - a bird watcher's paradise. We take a walk on the island which offers great views of the mountains surrounding the longest fjord in Iceland. As there are not natural predators on the island it makes it a perfect sanctuary for birds. Hrísey is home for 40 different species of the nesting birds. Ptarmigan is a signature bird of Hrisey and particulary tame on the island. Research on the species has been conducted here for over 50 years.
In the afternoon we return by ferry to Árskógssandur and take a short drive to Svarfaðardalur for more bird watching. Here the bird reserve spans over roughly 8 sq.km of marshland with various species of nesting birds as well as passersby. We return to Akureyri.
Hotel accommodation in Akureyri: double/twin/single rooms with private or shared facilities.

Day 7:     
Breakfast at the hotel. 
Morning transfer to the Nature reserve of Krossanesborgir (4 km from the center of Akureyri) and time for bird watching. On roughly 1 sq.km you can find approx. 500-600 nesting pairs of birds of mixed species.
Free afternoon to enjoy Akureyri or you can spend more time bird watching in the area.
Hotel accommodation in Akureyri: double/twin/single rooms with private or shared facilities.

Day 8:
Breakfast at the hotel.    
Transfer to Akureyri airport for the morning flight to Reykjavík. Transfer from the city to Keflavík international airport in time for your international flight.

Possibility for add-on to the package if you would like some extra time to explore other areas of Iceland.

There are many excellent places for bird watching in North Iceland. Three bird watching hides are located near Akureyri and are available for birdwatchers. These hides are placed in the following areas, Naustaborgir park, The Natural Park of Krossanesborgir, at the estuary of river Eyjafjarðará and there is also one on the island of Hrísey.

At The Krossanesborgir Natural Park which spans over roughly 1 sq.km you can find approx. 500 to 600 nesting pairs of birds of mixed species. According to a thorough bird count made in North Iceland in 2003, at least 27 species breed in the region. Some of the listed species: Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus), Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) and Mew Gull (Larus canus), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), various ducks and geese such as Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and Greylag Goose (Anser anser) as well as many other species of birds.
It is estimated that about 33 different species of birds nest in the estuary of the river Eyjafjarðará, about 40% of all the species that nest in Iceland. The most common birds in the area are Blackheaded Gull (Larus ridibundus) and Common Eider duck (somateria mollissima). Other common birds are Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Greylag Goose (Anser anser), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas Penelope), etc. Four species in the area are on the Icelandic Institute of Natural history red list i.e. Greylag Goose (Anser anser), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and Mew Gull (Larus canus).

Hrísey is a peaceful island in the middle of Eyjafjörður, it is the second largest island in Iceland, after Heimaey in the south. The island is a well known paradise for bird watchers and the most abundant of all birds on the island is the ptarmigan. About 40 species of birds nest on the island. The northern part of Hrísey is a privately owned nature reserve.

Grímsey is the northern most point of Iceland and located on the Arctic Circle which crosses the island. Grímsey is a part of the municipality of Akureyri. The birdlife on Grímsey is unique with numerous different species and unusually dense populations. The birdlife is flourishing due to several reasons; rich fishing grounds are close by, no rats or mice are on the island and hunting of the birds and collection of their eggs has been reduced to a minimum since earlier times.
During summer Grímsey is a home to nearly all of the main wader, moorland and sea birds that visit Iceland each year.
Grímsey is one of the best places in Iceland for watching cliff nesting birds like; Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), Razorbill (Alca torda), Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) and Murre, both Common Murre or Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) & Thick-billed Murre or Brünnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia). Grímsey has one of Iceland’s largest Arctic tern (Sterna pardisaea) nesting sites and one of the largest Puffin (Fratercula arctica) colonies. Commonly seen in Grímsey are also birds like e.g. the White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), the Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) and the Northern Wheatear or Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe).

Lake Mývatn: The area around the Lake Mývatn and the Laxá river is well known for its rich and diverse birdlife, particularly the abundance of ducks and other waterfowls. Fourteen species of duck breed here at a density virtually unmatched anywhere in the world. Almost all the species of waterfowl found in Iceland breed in the area around Lake Mývatn and Laxá river. The most common duck is the Tufted  Duck (Aythya fuligula), while Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala Islandica), Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) and Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) are also common. One of the best known Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) colonies in the world is located where the Laxá river flows out of Lake Mývatn. Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) and Greylag Geese (Anser anser) are widely distributed around the lake in summer. Pink-footed Geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) breed on the edge of the highlands to the south of Mývatn and in small numbers by the lake itself. There are several pairs of Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) and Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) in the area, and Red-necked Phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus) are common. The lake also has the densest population of Horned Grebes (Podiceps auritus) in Iceland. Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) and Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) are numerous and most species of wader, passerine and raptor found in Iceland are represented at Mývatn.
Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) is common; there are several pairs of Gyr Falcon (Falco rusticolus), a few pairs of Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) and good numbers of Merlin (Falco columbarius).

There is plenty to see and do on one of our Nature and Bird Watching packages to North Iceland, the pace of the tours are relaxed. Time to enjoy each activity and area visited. The Tour Leader/ local guide is with the group from start to finish in the North and the group would be met by a driver at both Keflavík and Reykjavik airport for the airport  transfers.

Nonni Travel is based in Akureyri and so we are on hand to help with any additional requests for our clients during their stay in Iceland. We strive to deliver a personal professional service, customer satisfaction is at the top of our list!

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Nonni Travel

Brekkugata 5
600 Akureyri, Iceland

Tel. +354 461 1841
nonni (at) nonnitravel.is

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