Iceland Road Guide

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Iceland Road Guide

Your key to Iceland in one handy volume. Iceland's entire road system, including the highlands and all mountain roads, plus its geography, culture and history. Easy to use for travel in either direction.

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3. Mýrar and the Snæfellsnes

See also Discover Iceland  >  Galleries  >  Seabirds
and Discover Iceland  >  Nature  >  Fauna  >  Birds
and Discover Iceland  >  Galleries  >  Puffins


The countryside there is grassy in many places, and there are many rivers and creeks. The most conspicuous birds in this region are marshland species and it is possible to observe birds on the beaches as well as farther inland. A vast majority of the country's mud lands and shores are on the west coast and therefore one can depend on a richer birdlife in this region than at many other places in Iceland. This is especially true during the migration season. The migratory path of many nordic birds lies along the west coast and therefore they typically seek food in the mud lands and shores on the west coast. Along the southern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, whooper swans and ducks are abundant, as well as great northern divers, looms and many others, in particular arctic terns, black-headed gulls and various heath land and marshland birds. Mýrar is part of the sea eagle's distribution area. Along the coast between Arnarstapi and Hellnar there is a tremendous multitude of birds. The arctic tern and kittiwake are the most conspicuous but other nesting birds include the great black-backed guillemot and various sea gulls. Occasionally, an auk can be seen not far from land and harlequin ducks appear in the surf underneath the sea cliffs. A few red-necked phalaropes can also be found in this area near small ponds. The kittiwake, sea hen, Brunnich's guillemot and fulmar are all nesting birds at Þúfubjarg. To the north is Svörtuloft, high sea rocks, where various sea bird species nest. One of the largest arctic tern colonies in Iceland can be found between Hellissandur and Rif. Many coastal bird species dwell on shallow ponds near Rif and also on the sea cliffs along the road to Ólafsvík. Glaucous gulls are ver y common on the nor thern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula and one of the largest nesting sites of this species is there. In the Breiðafjörður archipelago there are thousands of islands and islets where a tremendous multitude of sea birds nest, among them puffins and other auks. Breiðafjörður is also the main nesting site of the great cormorant and the shag. Several sea eagle pairs also nest in this region. The gathering of birds and down was formerly a substantial part of the earnings of the inhabitants in this region. Eider nesting sites are still exploited on some of the islands in the archipelago. Finally, Álftafjörður should be mentioned. It is a fjord somewhat inland from Stykkishólmur. Whooper swans dwell there by the hundreds in summer along with many other different bird species.

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