Iceland - August 2002 - Daily Log
19.08.2002 (Arrival, Reykjanes Peninsula) - 20.08. (Snaefellsnes) - 21.08. (Stykkisholmur, Godafoss) - 22.08. (Myvatn, Dettifoss) - 23.08. (Melrakkasletta peninsula, Mödrudalur) - 24.08. (Egisstadir, Reydarfjördur) - 25.08. (Höfn, Jökulsarlon) - 26.08. (Hof, Vik) - 27.08. (Skogafoss, Gullfoss, Thingvellir) - 28.08. (Eyrarbakki, Thorlakshhöfn, Reykjavik) - 29.08.2002 (Reykjanes Peninsula, Departure)
We then drove to Grindavik on road 425 and from there on road 427 to Kleifavatn (no birds on this lake). In the evening we drove into the capital Reykjavik. There is a lake in the inner city, the so-called Tjörnin, where we found Scaups, Whooper Swans, single Gadwalls and other ducks. For the night we stayed on the campground (1400 IKR, 1 Euro = ca. 80 IKR) near the Youth Hostel.
On ponds near the road 54 on the southern coast of the peninsula we saw our first Great Northern Diver and also some Slavonian Grebes. We followed road 574 around the mountain Snaefellsjökull. On the rocky coast of Anarstapi were three Harlequin Ducks and at the birdcliffs Londrangar near the lighthouse of Malarrif in the southwest of the peninsula was a bird colony with some remaining Fulmars chased by a Gyr Falcon.
Near a big Arctic Tern colony near Hellisandur with many juveniles we some areas with shallow water and many Red-necked Phalaropes, some Knots, Sanderlings and Dunlins. On the Snaefellsnes peninsula were also single Common Gulls, a gull which is rare in Iceland.
We stayed for the night on the campground of Olafsvik which is run by the village (600 IKR). In the evening we watched Purple Sandpipers, Ringed Plovers and Harlequin Ducks on the beach as well as single Black Guillemots out on the sea.
From road 57 we took the road 60 northwards and then road 59 eastwards to the Hrütafjördur where we drove via road 68 back to road 1. In this fjord was another Great Northern Diver. We followed road 1 and about 34 km before entering Akureyri we had a rest at a small forest patch near Bakki where we found some Icelandic Redpolls.
For the night we camped at a hotel near the waterfall Godafoss, although they didn't even had hot showers we paid 800 IKR for the night.
At Höfdi in the southeast of Lake Myvatn we had a look into the small forest patch. The area was good for many Redpolls and we even found a Wren on our walk. Redwings and Meadow Pipits were everywhere.
In the afternoon we visited the high temperature and lava areas east of Myvatn and drove then on road 862 (in fact only for 4x4 vehicles) to the Jökulsargljufur National Park. We had a look at the magnificent Dettifoss, Europes biggest waterfall and stayed for the night at the campground Vesturdalur (no showers, 1200 IKR per night).
A few kilometres later we took the road to Nupskatla, a farm on the northwestern coast of the peninsula. We had to open a gate before entering the farmhouse area where we parked our car and walked westwards towards the lighthouse to a beautiful seabird rock with a nice Gannet colony. On the way back we gathered some mushrooms for the evening soup.
Following road 85 you came to the lighthouse of Hraunhafnartangi, the northernmost point of mainland Iceland, said to touch the arctic circle, we are not sure whether it really does. We completed our circle on Melrakkasletta by taking the road 867. Via road 85 we came on road 864 which brought us southwards. Before entering road 1 near Grimsstadir we found some Pink-footed Geese, a species which was also common along the following kilometres along road 1. We stayed for the night at Mödrudalur, this time with hot showers for 900 IKR. Mödrudalur is no longer on road 1 since they are using another route for this road now, but the old road 1 is still in good condition.
At Breidalsvik we met again road 1 and drove on this road till Stafafell, about 30 km before Höfn, where we had a wonderful evening with a Gyr Falcon at the campsite, sunny weather with temperature up to nearly 20 °C and hot showers (1000 IKR, to be paid at nearby farmhouse).
After while the weather got better and we even found a new bird for our trip list: a Grey Heron at a small pond beside the road. Some Whooper Swan families offered good photo opportunities along the road, we soon saw the first glaciers and till we came to the lake Jökulsarlon we even had some sunshine. But at the lake itself it was again very foggy so that we only had an idea about the icebergs on the lake.
The area around the lake and Breidamerkursandur west of it host the biggest colony of Great Skuas on the Northern Hemisphere and although the season was over we still saw lots of them. Interestingly there were also many Fulmars sitting on the ground. Probably young birds which were too fat to fly directly from their nests to the open sea. We camped near the road close to Hof and there we also found some Fulmar bones with wings.
Visiting some cultural sites and some waterfalls we drove slowly along road 1 to Vik. There are some nice seabird colonies around Vik and although there were some heavy showers in late afternoon we found Gannets, single Puffins, Skuas, Gulls and many Fulmars around the cliffs.
The campground in Vik was more comfortable than others since it had a day room with cooking facilities (1000 IKR per night, hot showers: 200 IKR per person).
The next stop along road 1 was again a waterfall: Skogafoss, in my eyes probably most typical waterfall. 21 km past Hella we left road 1 and took road 30 to Gullfoss. Close to this huge waterfall is Geysir, which is no longer active on a regular basis (we saw a small eruption) and another geysir called Strokkur, which is active several times in an hour. The whole area is called Haukadalur and has several more hot springs.
In the evening we drove to Thingvellir, the most important historic place on Iceland. We stayed as usual on the campground (1000 IKR per night).
In the morning we joined a guided tour at Thingvellir. Interestingly some Whimbrels were still very active in the area. Then we checked out some coastal areas, especially along road 34 at Eyrarbakki and Thorlakshhöfn, where we found some Red-breasted Mergansers, lots of Gulls etc.. Afterwards we drove on road 39 and road 1 to Reykjavik where spend the rest of the day sightseeing and shopping. In the evening we stayed again at the campground near the Youth Hostel. This was the only evening we had dinner in restaurant. Around midnight Aurora borealis was visible at the night sky.
Late in the night we took the flight back to Munich.