Edward's Birding Diary
|2 December 2005|
Aurora borealis, the icy sky at night
Aurora borealis, the icy sky at night begins Neil Young's marvellous Pocahontas and indeed in these icy skies at night the aurora borealis can often be seen. Last night there was a shimmer of green to the north as I drove home from work. Although the northern lights are often visible from Reykjavík, the glare of the city certainly dulls the effect. Just over two years ago I was driving late at night across southern Iceland with GÞ on the way to twitch Iceland's first Stock Dove (did we really drive 800 km for a pigeon? - that's another story) and we had to pull off the road to look at the absolutely mesmerising spectacle of contorting serpentine green lights illuminating the entire sky.
I don't remember the exact details but I think we both said "Wow" and "Christ Almighty" a lot. A good aurora display can easily rob you of your eloquence. Whilst we're on the topic of the aurora, I'd like to point you in the direction of a most entertaining blog, called Aurora Borealis written from the former Icelandic colony of Hjaltland (known to the locals as Shetland). Today the author was lucky enough to see an excellent lifer in the form of Brünnich's Guillemot, which is a common breeder in Iceland, although I never see them in winter. I'll be keeping a close eye on events in Shetland this winter. I just wish we got one of their White-billed Divers.