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Icelandic migrant news
last update... 19 April 2020

The spring season remains the most exciting time of year in Iceland. It means the end of hibernation for most Icelandic birders, days get longer with every passing day and the air fills up with birds. Although not the first migrant to reach Iceland in spring, the European Golden Plover is the sign of spring for Icelanders. It arrives in the last week of March and tradition says it comes to push away the snow.
Below you can see all about the arrivals during the latest spring, and compare the arrival dates with those back to 2002. Note that we have compiled arrivals since 1998 even though we only show yearly arrivals from 2002 to 2012 here.

In some cases it is difficult to decide which bird is a migrant and which isn't as some species remain here for the winter. However we try to bring out the best available information. Please note that the dates only show the first observation of the year, which is often not the normal arrival time for many species. The peak arrival is usually a bit later than the first arrivals (some occuring few weeks ahead depending on weather conditions each year).

The mean arrival date for each species is noted at the far right of the table below. That is based on data dating back to 1998.

A few species listed below do not breed in Iceland but are migrating towards their breeding grounds in Greenland and Canada, those are White-fronted, Brent and Barnacle Geese, Red Knot, Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone.

Most of the information is obtained from the Icelandic Bird Net, www.fuglar.is and a number of facebook accounts, and should not be used without the author's permission. Letters in ( ) indicate where in Iceland the location is (SW = South-West etc).




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LATEST REPORTS OF FIRST ARRIVALS - 2020
NÝJUSTU FARFUGLAKOMUR VORIĐ 2020

27 February: Whooper Swan / Álft Cygnus cygnus (SE)
1 March: Eurasian Oystercatcher / Tjaldur Haematopus ostralegus (E)
6 March: Common Shelduck / Brandönd Tadorna tadorna (SE), Eurasian Wigeon / Rauđhöfđaönd Mareca penelope (SE), Lesser Black-backed Gull / Sílamáfur Larus fuscus graellsii (SW)
8 March: Black-headed Gull / Hettumáfur Chroicocephalus ridibundus (SE), Mew Gull / Stormmáfur Larus canus (SE)
9 March: Common Redshank / Stelkur Tringa totanus (SE)
14 March: Northern Pintail / Grafönd Anas acuta (S)
15 March: Greylag Goose / Grágćs Anser anser (SE), Greater Scaup / Duggönd Aythya marila (SE), European Golden Plover / Heiđlóa Pluvialis apricaria (SE)
16 March: Eurasian Teal / Urtönd Anas crecca (E), Great Skua / Skúmur Stercorarius skua (SE)
20 March: Red-throated Diver / Lómur Gavia stellata (SE)
21 March: Brent Goose / Margćs Branta bernicla hrota (S)
22 March: Black-tailed Godwit / Jađrakan Limosa limosa islandica (S), Redwing / Skógarţröstur Turdus iliacus coburni (E,SE)
23 March: Greater White-fronted Goose / Blesgćs Anser albifrons flavirostris (S)
24 March: Pink-footed Goose / Heiđagćs Anser brachyrhynchus (S), Gadwall / Gargönd Mareca strepera (SE), Ruddy Turnstone / Tildra Arenaria interpres (S)
27 March: Tufted Duck / Skúfönd Aythya fuligula (SW)
3 April: Dunlin / Lóuţrćll Calidris alpina (E), Common Snipe / Hrossagaukur Gallinago gallinago (S)
5 April: Barnacle Goose / Helsingi Branta leucopsis (SE), Tufted Duck / Skúfönd Aythya fuligula (SW)
6 April: Common Ringed Plover / Sandlóa Charadrius hiaticula (E,S,SW), Red Knot / Rauđbrystingur Calidris canutus (S), Arctic Skua / KjóiStercorarius parasiticus (SW), White Wagtail / Maríuerla Motacilla alba (NE), Meadow Pipit / Ţúfutittlingur Anthus pratensis (SE,SW)
7 April: Atlantic Puffin / Lundi Fratercula arctica (W)
9 April: Common Scoter / Hrafnsönd Melanitta nigra (NE), Horned Grebe / Flórgođi Podiceps auritus (SW,S), Manx Shearwater / Skrofa Puffinus puffinus (S)
10 April: Northern Shoveler / Skeiđönd Spatula clypeata (E)
15 April: Sanderling / Sanderla Calidris alba (S), Northern Wheatear / Steindepill Oenanthe oenanthe (SE)
17 April: Whimbrel / Spói Numenius phaeopus (SE)
18 April: Arctic Tern / Kría Sterna paradisaea (SE,W)

 

MIGRANT ARRIVALS 2002-2012

 

 

 

Species

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Mean arrival date '98-'19

 

 

 

Red-throated Diver / Lómur Gavia stellata
24 March
18 March
16 March
24 March
19 March
23 March
23 March
17 March
10 March
27 March
14 March
19 March

 

Horned Grebe / Flórgođi Podiceps auritus
6 April
19 March
4 April
24 March
13 April
1 April
8 April
4 April
8 April
3 April
29 March
2 April

 

Manx Shearwater / Skrofa Puffinus puffinus
21 April
5 May
25 April
29 April
14 April
25 March
7 April
7 April
6 April
29 March
15 March
12 April

 

European Storm-petrel / Stormsvala Hydrobates pelagicus
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?

 

Leach's Storm-petrel / Sjósvala Oceanodroma leucorhoa
?
?
?
?
13 May
?
?
?
?
?
10 April
26 April

 

Whooper Swan / Álft Cygnus cygnus
13 March
6 March
5 March
25 February
3 March
3 March
14 March
7 March
2 March
5 March
1 March
3 March

 

Pink-footed Goose / Heiđagćs Anser brachyrhynchus
5 April
6 April
30 March
25 March
31 March
25 March
29 March
1 April
1 April
31 March
23 March
29 March

 

White-fronted Goose/ Blesgćs Anser albifrons flavirostris
30 March
29 March
30 March
26 March
7 April
25 March
31 March
28 March
2 April
26 March
24 March
31 March

 

Greylag Goose / Grágćs Anser anser
25 March
7 March
7 March
3 March
5 March
17 March
19 March
16 March
10 March
23 March
11 March
13 March

 

Barnacle Goose / Helsingi Branta leucopsis
14 April
9 April
2 April
7 Mar/10 Apr
15 April
22 Mar/9 Apr
31 Mar/10 Apr
4 April
4 April
9 April
6 April
9 April

 

Brent Goose / Margćs Branta bernicla hrota
5 April
7 April
20 March
6/24 March
2 April
2 April
2 April
1 April
31 March
31 March
25 March
31 March

 

Common Shelduck / Brandönd Tadorna tadorna
1 April
4 April
31 March
21 March
15 March
24 March
18 March
17 March
24 March
20 March
20 March
21 March

 

Eurasian Wigeon / Rauđhöfđaönd Mareca penelope
25 March
16 March
18 March
21 March
20 March
13 March
19 March
?
12 March
19 March
2 March
15 March

 

Gadwall / Gargönd Mareca strepera
29 March
10 April
3 April
2 April
12 April
30 March
10 April
21 March
8 April
2 April
6 April
5 April

 

Eurasian Teal / Urtönd Anas crecca
25 March
22 March
20 March
22 March
5 April
25 March
20 March
14 March
11 March
21 March
23 March
23 March

 

Northern Pintail / Grafönd Anas acuta
29 March
25 March
2 April
22 March
1 April
28 March
1 April
22 March
6 March
24 March
28 March
26 March

 

Northern Shoveler / Skeiđönd Spatula clypeata
1 May
7 April
8 April
17 April
14 April
7 April
28 April
21 March
14 April
12 April
17 April
13 April

 

Tufted Duck / Skúfönd Aythya fuligula
28 March
16 March
3 April
23 March
13 March
13 March
8 April
16 March
7 March
28 March
28 March
26 March

 

Greater Scaup / Duggönd Aythya marila
7 April
22 March
4 April
14 April
9 April
1 April
15 March
2 April
7 March
19 March
14 March
1 April

 

Common Scoter / Hrafnsönd Melanitta nigra
23 March
9 April
4 April
27 March
15 April
15 April
7 April
9 April
15 April
3 April
27 March
2 April

 

Eurasian Oystercatcher / Tjaldur Haematopus ostralegus
15 March
7 March
11 March
5 March
7 March
28 February
12 March
5 March
28 February
2 March
2 March
6 March

 

Common Ringed Plover / Sandlóa Charadrius hiaticula
5 April
7 April
4 April
1 April
11 April
5 April
10 April
4 April
3 April
31 March
9 April
6 April

 

European Golden Plover / Heiđlóa Pluvialis apricaria
24 March
24 March
24 March
20 March
24 March
27 March
23 March
20 March
25 March
24 Feb/24 Mar
18 March
23 March

 

Red Knot / Rauđbrystingur Calidris canutus
7 April
5 April
31 March
30 March
19 April
10 April
1 April
4 April
8 April
10 April
16 April
8 April

 

Sanderling / Sanderla Calidris alba
5 May
15 April
14 April
8 Apr/6 May
16 April
19 April
16 April
16 April
18 April
18 April
2 May
19 April

 

Dunlin / Lóuţrćll Calidris alpina
7 April
16 April
14 April
8 April
11 April
13 April
16 April
13 April
12 April
10 April
19 April
13 April

 

Common Snipe / Hrossagaukur Gallinago gallinago faeroeensis
2 April
6 April
30 March
28 March
29 March
2 April
1 April
4 April
3 April
24 March
23 March
1 April

 

Black-tailed Godwit / Jađrakan Limosa limosa islandica
4 April
7 April
7 April
3 April
15 April
28 March
12 April
4 April
8 April
9 April
29 March
4 April

 

Whimbrel / Spói Numenius phaeopus
20 April
15 April
18 April
20 April
16 April
11 April
16 April
18 April
21 April
18 April
19 April
18 April

 

Common Redshank / Stelkur Tringa totanus
4 April
7 April
27 March
13 March
8 March
1 April
29 March
16 March
24 March
16 March
23 March
24 March

 

Ruddy Turnstone / Tildra Arenaria interpres
5 April
15 April
19 March
12 April
31 March
29 March
8 April
?
29 March
?
23 March
5 April

 

Red-necked Phalarope / Óđinshani Phalaropus lobatus
10 May
11 May
5 May
21 Apr/4 May
7 May
8 May
10 May
5 May
2 May
5 May
11 May
7 May

 

Red Phalarope / Ţórshani Phalaropus fulicarius
26 May
31 May
23 May
14 May
22 May
3 June
24 May
20 May
22 May
22 May
25 May
23 May

 

Arctic Skua / Kjói Stercorarius parasiticus
14 April
12 April
20 March
10 April
10 April
12 April
12 April
2 April
31 March
26 March
9 April
9 April

 

Great Skua / Skúmur Stercorarius skua
17 March
16 February
28 February
21 February
14 March
10 March
21 March
6 March
4 March
23 February
26 February
5 March

 

Black-headed Gull / Hettumáfur Larus ridibundus
23 March
9 March
8 March
19 March
9 March
15 March
12 March
11 March
12 March
14 March
2 March
16 March

 

Mew Gull / Stormmáfur Larus canus
29 March
16 March
21 March
31 March
9 March
27 March
27 March
?
1 March
14 March
2 March
19 March

 

Lesser Black-backed Gull / Sílamáfur Larus fuscus graellsii
11 March
11 February
26 February
17 February
10 March
4 March
15 February
11 February
4 March
17 February
6 February
25 February

 

Arctic Tern / Kría Sterna paradisaea
21 April
21 April
15 April
21 April
21 April
22 April
24 April
20 April
24 April
22 April
26 April
22 April

 

Brünnich's Guillemot / Stuttnefja Uria lomvia
?
?
20 March
24 February
14 April
16 April
23 March
4 April
28 March
24 March
24 March
27 March

 

Atlantic Puffin / Lundi Fratercula arctica
30 March
1 April
27 March
10 April
9 April
11 April
8 April
4 April
7 April
3 April
22 March
1 April

 

Short-eared Owl / Brandugla Asio flammeus
?
18 April
8 April
26 March
13 April
?
?
11 April
?
?
?
11 April

 

Meadow Pipit / Ţúfutittlingur Anthus pratensis
4 April
5/27 Mar
4 April
9 April
15 April
12 April
4 April
4 April
29 March
9 April
13 April
6 April

 

White Wagtail / Maríuerla Motacilla alba alba
6 April
2 March
6 April
29 March
17 April
13 April
16 April
11 April
11 April
10 April
30 March
5 April

 

Northern Wheatear / Steindepill Oenanthe oenanthe
23 April
14 April
18 April
24 Feb/17 April
22 April
16 April
17 April
13 April
14 April
9 April
23 April
18 April

 

Redwing / Skógarţröstur Turdus iliacus coburni
23 March
18 March
27 March
19 March
22 March
24 March
13 March
19 March
26 March
25 March
23 March
22 March

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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