Iceland: Birds & Whale Watching - Birding Tour
Iceland is ancient, both in terms of its people and its very nature. Sitting just below the Arctic Circle, it is a spectacularly beautiful land of rugged cliffs, serene fjords, cascading waterfalls, apocalyptic-looking lava fields, and magma-spilling volcanoes. And, it is a land with a tremendous wealth of wildlife. Though species numbers are relatively low, (as is typical of near-Arctic regions), the quality is superb. Roadside pools teem with elegant Red-necked Phalaropes, rivers hold crisp Harlequin Ducks and amorous Barrow’s Goldeneye, and fearsome Gyrfalcons roam the land in search of any of the abundant breeding shorebirds and ducks to feast on. Plus the island is hemmed in by the cetacean-rich Greenland Sea and Atlantic Ocean that boast a myriad of awe-inspiring whales and dolphins. On this weeklong tour, we’ll sample the best that this unique Nordic country has to offer. First we’ll fly to the northeast and bird Lake Myvatn for highlights like Barrow’s Goldeneye, Harlequin Duck and Gyrfalcon. We’ll also take two whale-watching boat trips out of two different ports with two different targets: Humpback Whale in Akureyri, and in Husavik for Northern Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and if we are very lucky perhaps the largest being on Earth, the colossal Blue Whale. From there, we’ll head all the way across this scenic island to the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula. There we’ll visit impressive seabird cliffs, home to Thick-billed Murre (Brunnich’s Guillemot) and comical Atlantic Puffins, and join another boat trip to look for one of the area’s resident Orca pods, and perhaps too the unique Sperm Whale. Once we’re done in the west of Iceland, we’ll head south toward the capital, Reykjavik, where we’ll be “normal” tourists for the day as we complete the ‘Golden Circle’, a route filled with thermal baths, geysers, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an extinct volcano crater, enormous waterfalls and Earth’s first parliament which the Viking-like ancestors established to govern this icy world. We may encounter Rock Ptarmigan or an Arctic Fox to compliment these other activities. At the end of the tour we will have enjoyed a truly varied tour, with extraordinary scenery, super birds as well as whales and dolphins, and seen some remarkable sights in this unique and volcanic Land of Fire and Ice.
27 May - 2 June ($5990; single supplement: $550)
8 - 14June (Price: TBA)