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Birding trails - Sandvík - Grindavík

Sandvík - Grindavík

Stóra-Sandvík

Stóra-Sandvík is a small inlet with a big sandy beach, while on the inner part of the inlet is a large pond with brackish water close to the Bridge Between Continents. You can find Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus), geese, ducks, and gulls on the pond all year round. Red-necked Phalaropes congregate on the pond before the start of the post-breeding migration, with hundreds there in July.

Reykjanes-Eldey, Valahnúkur, and Karl.

Reykjanes is a small cape at the lower part of the Reykjanesskagi Peninsula. There you can find the only Arctic Tern colony in a geothermal area. Valahnúkur is a hill at the point of the cape. This site is very picturesque and great for seabird watching, along with the breeding Kittiwakes and Northern Fulmars in the southern cliff walls. Karl is a cliff just outside of Valahnúkur with breeding Kittiwakes and a few Fulmars and Razorbills. Further out is an island called Eldey. Eldey is the largest gannet colony in Iceland, with 14,000 - 18,000 pairs, other breeding species are mostly Kittiwakes (3,232 pairs), Common Guillemots (2,700 pairs), Brünnich's Guillemots (510 pairs), and Fulmars.

Víkur

Víkur is the sea area out from Hrafnkelsstaðaberg. Driving from Reykjanes, you will find a rough gravel road accessible by 4x4. Take the exit close to some old houses. Drive the road till the end and scope the sea. There are big flocks of eiders, and chance of Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra), Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca), or its close relative, White-Winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi).

Arfadalsvík

Staður is a farm west of the town of Grindavík. There is a fish farm west of Staður with a large runoff that lures in gulls and waders, but the area is closed off from the road. East of Staður is a rocky and a sandy beach that stretches 4-5 km, called Arfadalsvík. It is one of the few rocky and sandy high diversity littoral shores on the south coast of Iceland. It is an oasis on a long stretch of the lifeless sandy south coast and therefore a very important area for birds and other littoral, or sublittoral, life. Access is best either from parking near the church at Staður or at the golf course. You can on a 4x4 follow a rough gravel road east of the red fish farm to the east of the golf course. On the way from Arfadalsvík to Grindavík are many ponds and some estuaries that can hold waders, ducks, geese and gulls.

Grindavík

Grindavík is a town of 3,000 inhabitants. Due to lights and few trees, Grindavík is one of the first destinations for lost American migrants after low preassure systems coming from the west. For that reason, Icelandic bird watchers look in gardens and the shore area in and around the town. Gulls can be seen from the docks and on ponds east and west of Grindavík and one should always have one's eyes open for gull rarities, such as Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea), Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan), and Bonaparte's Gull.

Birding trails - Sandvík - Grindavík
GPS Points N63° 49' 15.404" W22° 37' 6.932"

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The Reykjanes Peninsula

Towns & Villages

Visitors to Iceland who arrive via Keflavik International Airport on the Reykjanes Peninsula may be somewhat surprised by the landscape that greets their eyes as they touch down in Iceland for the very first time. A seemingly endless, green-grey moss-topped lava field blankets the peninsula for as far as the eye can see, and it is this strange and rather other-worldly sight that is your first glimpse of the land of fire and ice. 

Map Garður Sandgerði Reykjanesbær Vogar Grindavík