THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE THE BIRDS, CETACEANS, MAMMALS AND GEOLOGY!
Leader: Andy Jones
Summer is a great time for wildlife in the Land of Fire and Ice. The waders, wildfowl, seabirds and cetaceans of Iceland are justifiably world famous, and our trip is designed to show you the very best of them.
Exploring the dramatic landscapes, we seek the mighty Gyrfalcon, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, and North American birds including the dazzling Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye. We cover all the birdlife of this stunning and awe-inspiring land, including White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Snow Bunting, Whimbrel, Arctic and Great Skua, Black-tailed Godwit, and hope to get some rarities as well. We have seen Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon and King Eider in a real waterfowl wonderland!
We now have three whale-watching trips—giving fantastic chances to see Harbour Porpoise, White-beaked Dolphin, Orca, Humpback and Minke Whales. There is also the possibility of the mighty Blue, Sperm, Fin and Sei Whales, and Bottle-nosed and White-sided Dolphins, as all these marine mammals congregate for the summer in the food-rich waters of the North Atlantic. No trip to Iceland would be complete without a chance to see these impressive animals.
This unique Heatherlea holiday has been carefully designed as a complete tour, giving you all the birds, Europe’s best cetacean searching, the magnificent volcanic scenery and the best geological sites in an unforgettable and thorough exploration of this remote northern wilderness.
This holiday represents exceptional value for a very comprehensive tour - don’t miss it!
Day 1 - Thur
Fly to Iceland from London and transfer from Keflavík airport to Snæfellsnes, birding en route. Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, Ptarmigan and Slavonian Grebe are all possible. Hotel in West Iceland.
Day 2 - Fri
The majestic scenery of Snæfellsnes provides perfect introduction to Iceland and a remarkable backdrop for our first day in the field. Seabirds provide a focus, and we expect to find Brunnich's Guillemot and other auks. Waders are everywhere including the Icelandic race of Black-tailed Godwit, and we will get good views of Red-necked Phalarope, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls. Hotel in West Iceland.
Day 3 - Sat
We take our first boat trip amidst the islands of Breiðafjörður. White-tailed eagle is a distinct possibility and we have the chance of finding porpoises or seals as well. Later we head north with a good chance of encountering White-tailed Eagle. We also look for Ptarmigan, Harlequin Duck, Pink-footed Goose, more white-winged gulls, and a chance of the elusive Arctic Fox in the field margins, or amongst the array of wild flowers. Hotel in North Iceland in a wonderful location overlooking the highest peaks in this part of Iceland, with Short-eared Owls quartering the fields.
Day 4 - Sun
The second of our cetacean trips, as we head out to the north. Humpback and Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoise could be joined by something less common! Expect divers on the sea, and on inland lakes, and keep your eyes open for possibly our first Gyrfalcon as we explore the northern valleys later in the day. Hotel in North Iceland.
Day 5 - Mon
Iceland's wildfowl spectacular! Lake Mývatn is famous for its breeding wildfowl, and we hope to catch up with a good number of species. Barrow's Goldeneye and Harlequin are found amidst the tens of thousands of more familiar duck species, and potential trans-Atlantic vagrants. Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Diver are also found here. We should see Gyrfalcon and Merlin in the area, too. Mývatn is also very important geologically, and we shall study the impressive landscape, sculpted by millions of years of volcanic activity. Later we will enjoy an evening whale cruise on Eyjafjörður. This will give us chances to see minke, humpback, dolphins and porpoise and we may have time for a very quick visit to the ptarmigan island of Hrísey as well. Hotel in North Iceland.
Day 6 - Tue
An adventurous day's travel across Iceland's interior as we head for the south. We may visit the hot spring area of Hveravellir on the way, the dramatic glacial river falls of Gullfoss and the famous geysers at Geysir. There's a good chance of encountering Gyrfalcon, Snow Bunting and Pink-footed Goose on our journey. Hotel in South Iceland.
Day 7 - Wed
The glaciers and waterfalls of South Iceland. The tumbled moraines at the edge of these provide much of interest for botanists and geologists, whilst birds include Great and Arctic Skua and breeding waders. There will be more seabirds at the coast including thousands of Puffin, and weather permitting great views across to The Westman Islands and to the active volcano of Hekla. Hotel in South Iceland.
Day 8 - Thu
Today we depart Keflavík, and arrive back in the UK early evening.
Return scheduled flight from London - Keflavik, airport taxes, ground transportation, en suite accommodation with all meals, picnic lunches, incidental tips, and the services of Leader Andy Jones with another from our team with more than 10 clients. Max. 14 clients.
Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather)