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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7. Eastern Iceland

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

Fljótsdalshérað lies, for the most part, quite a distance from the sea and is surrounded by the leeside of mountains and the highland. It is therefore not as windy as in other parts of Iceland. This is clear by the fact that birch woods are vaster there than anywhere else in the country. Fljótsdalshérað reaches the sea at the Héraðsflói Bay where there are spacious sandy beaches. In addition, there are bogs and mires with creeks, ponds and sedge meadows that have mostly not been drained. On the coast, the great skua is very abundant, but the skua, loom and various heath land birds, such as whimbrel, become more common. The whimprel nests in this area are the densest in Iceland. Along the great rivers Jökulsá á Dal and Lagarfljót, there is a multitude of pink-footed goose and greylag. In the birch woods of Fljótsdalshérað are the same bird species as in other woodlands in Iceland. Various stray birds can be found in Fljótsdalshérað, including crossbills, such as the goldcrest, which has nested in Hallormsstaðaskógur in large numbers in recent years. Narrow fjords surrounded by high and steep mountains are along the eastern coast. Lowland is scarce but increases farther south. The islands Skrúður and Papey are interesting bird watching sites in this region. They are both just off the coast. Skrúður is the nesting site for many sea birds, including gannets and puffins. In Papey, the most common nesting birds are puffins and eiders. Álftafjörður and Lónsfjörður are shallow fjords with lush sea floor vegetation. Inland from the shore there are salt marshes, ponds and marshlands that are important stopover sites for migrating birds. In summer, the most conspicuous bird species is the whooper swan which can be seen by the thousands on sea lagoons. Underneath the Hvalnesskriður slides, multitudes of eiders can be seen on the sea and common scoters dwell in these premises for large parts of the year. Hornafjörður, Skarðsfjörður and Stokksnes are all near the southern limits of this region. Birdlife is abundant in the vicinity of Höfn. Skarðsfjörður is a shallow sea lagoon with islets, sea rocks and mudflats full of life. This is a nesting site for puffins and eiders among other bird species, such as the ringed plover and red-necked phalarope.

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