Iceland: birds and fauna

May 28, 2014

Iceland is rich in bird life, less endowed when it comes to non-domesticated mammals. As Jack and Marcia Schnedler’s 24-day driving trip around Iceland comes to a close, they’ve seen a lot of wildlife. Marcia, the birder in the family, has focused her binoculars on assorted species never seen in Arkansas. Here’s a set of photos, mostly Marcia’s, on some of the birds and beasts they’ve spotted.

The Arctic fox is said to have been the only land animal in Iceland when the first settlers from Norway arrived in the late 9th century. This one, in mid-May, is still in its winter colors.

The Arctic fox is said to have been the only land animal in Iceland when the first settlers from Norway arrived in the late 9th century. This one, in mid-May, is still in its winter colors.

 These graylag geese were spotted on a trail at Tingvellir, where a precursor of the Icelandic parliament began meeting in the 10th century.


These graylag geese were spotted on a trail at Tingvellir, where a precursor of the Icelandic parliament began meeting in the 10th century.

A meadow framed by volcanic cliffs provides the dramatic setting for a white Icelandic horse.

A meadow framed by volcanic cliffs provides the dramatic setting for a white Icelandic horse.

Yet another puffin photograph wraps up this short tour of Iceland's fauna as captured digitally by Marcia and Jack Schnedler.

Yet another puffin photograph wraps up this short tour of Iceland’s fauna as captured digitally by Marcia and Jack Schnedler.

An aggressive bird that likes to steal the food of other species, the greater skua shows little fear of tourists.

An aggressive bird that likes to steal the food of other species, the greater skua shows little fear of tourists.

Reindeer are not native to Iceland, but were imported from Norway. In May, only males like this specimen can be seen at lower elevations.

Reindeer are not native to Iceland, but were imported from Norway. In May, only males like this specimen can be seen at lower elevations.

Not wild, but too cute to ignore, these three lambs were among the countless seen as the foaling season spread across Iceland.

Not wild, but too cute to ignore, these three lambs were among the countless seen as the foaling season spread across Iceland.

Atlantic puffins are a national symbol for Icelanders, due in part to their photogenic features.

Atlantic puffins are a national symbol for Icelanders, due in part to their photogenic features.

The snow bunting is one of the northerly bird species seen in Iceland.

The snow bunting is one of the northerly bird species seen in Iceland.

At Lake Myvatn, a hotbed of volcanic activity in northern Iceland, these Slavonian grebes are idylling in the water.

At Lake Myvatn, a hotbed of volcanic activity in northern Iceland, these Slavonian grebes are idylling in the water.

Seen widely across the island, the Icelandic horse is a sturdy breed although smaller than most other equine species. Their behavior was a pleasure to observe through Jack and Marcia Schnedler's driving trip.

Seen widely across the island, the Icelandic horse is a sturdy breed although smaller than most other equine species. Their behavior was a pleasure to observe through Jack and Marcia Schnedler’s driving trip.

Gulls flock around icebergs at Jokulsarlon, a glacial lagoon on Iceland's south coast.

Gulls flock around icebergs at Jokulsarlon, a glacial lagoon on Iceland’s south coast.


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