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Eurasian Curlews in Iceland
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Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata have been quite regular wintering birds in Iceland, being more numerous in recent decades. The first certified record is from Reykjavík (SW-Iceland) in September 1819. There are two main wintering sites today, at Sandgerði on the Reykjanes peninsula (in the south-west) and around Höfn (in the south-east). Then this species is regularly seen at other places during migration and in winter. Breeding was first proven in 1987-1988 at Melrakkaslétta (north-east), and birds have been seen there nearly annually since then during the breeding period although nests or youngs have not been found since 1988. It is possible that the birds wintering at Sandgerði & Höfn actually belong to an Icelandic breeding population, breeding so far in unknown places. This is mainly supported by the fact that the wintering birds return to these sites very early in the summer (from early July onwards), and a few spend the whole summer there (probably non-breeding birds).
Note that the distribution map below shows the average number of birds at each site during the 10-year period 1987-1996. The graphs on the other hand deal with the total number of birds recorded up to and including 1996. Up to and including 2000 there have been 2135 "birds" counted in Iceland.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Figure 1 shows the distribution in Iceland, the circles showing the number of birds and the blue triangles indicating breeding. Figure 2 show the distribution of records/birds throughout the year (starting in July). The red columns stand for the finding dates (weeks), while the yellow columns show elongated stays. Finally, figure 3 shows the annual distribution of records in the period mentioned.

© Gunnlaugur Pétursson