Edward's Birding Diary
|28 March 2006|
A 200-meter high icicle
Birds can be amazingly punctual. Iceland's harbinger of spring, the much-loved European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria has arrived in Iceland on 24 March in five of the last nine years, and last Friday was no different with a single bird battling the icy polar winds to arrive on the island of Heimaey off the south coast. Golden Plovers are probably Iceland's most beloved bird, as tradition states that it arrives to bid farewell to the snow with its plaintive DIRRIN-DEE call. As it happens some parts of Iceland are experiencing their heaviest snowfall of the winter and here in the south-west we've had a week of teeth-shattering northerlies and white-topped waves in the bay north of Reykjavík, although we've been spared the snow. At the weekend I did a bit of incidental birding. Firstly, at the summerhouse where I triumphed in a mini-golf tournament (against an eight-year old girl and a ten-year old boy).
The only hazard on the mini-golf course was a flock of twelve tenacious Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta which insisted on always occupying the next hole and depositing huge amounts of droppings on the greens. It made me smile to think of the great lengths some people have to go to see Ptarmigan in certain parts of their European range, either by hiking in foul weather up on to the Cairngorm plateau or by walking up to 3,000 metres in the Alps. Here I was having to shoo them away with my putter.