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Icelandic poppies

Sometimes you run a trip and tell everyone 'That was the best trip I have ever been on ' I'm never too sure how true it is whenever I hear it from someone else, and I'm also not sure if it's believed when I utter those words myself. However, it must be true some of the time, and it certainly was on my trip to Iceland in the summer of 2019.

Barnacle goose

Icelandic weather is not noted for being very fair so I asked everyone to bring wellies as many of the places can be very wet underfoot. It rained only once, it was dry and sunny the vast majority of the time, and the previous months had been something of an Icelandic drought. The wellies were never needed!

Red-throated diver courtship

Another factor that helped the trip greatly was that we decided to run it with one guide only (myself) and consequently had limited the number of guests as we had only one vehicle. This was a great move because it meant everyone had greater opportunities and we could work so much better as a small group.

Red-necked phalaropes mating

We visited all the same places as on the previous trips but oddly, the number of birds we came across seemed so much greater. This was particularly true with ptarmigan. On my last trip we had struggled to see a single bird, and then at quite a distance. On this trip I kept finding them in several locations. Odd, and something I couldn't explain, but great all the same.

Great skua at sunset

As with many trips to the far north the day length is very long and the best light is early morning and late evening so days spent photographing can be arduous. However, when the light is good, it really is good and does last quite a time.

It is hard to pick my favourite places and birds but certainly the red-throated divers were a highlight. To spend an evening in superb light watching courtship so close that I didn't need my extender was arguably the best two hours of my photographic year.

Harlequin duck

Other notable sessions involved a barnacle pair with newly hatched chicks, harlequins on the Laxa, skuas and Sabine's gulls at Jökulsárlón, and pharls and slavs at Mývatn.

Golden plover

A cracking trip, wonderful birds and a fantastic group.

Black-tailed godwit

Arctic Skuas


Ice on the beach


Male eider duck

Golden plover

Harlequin duck, male

Red-throated diver

Red-necked phalarope pair


Sabine's gull