June 11th, 2008

Becca reports on her recent trip to Iceland

Report from Becca Hayhow - Hi lads, How's things going this term? I saw your photos on the website with your godwits badges and the class in Iceland too - great stuff!

I have been back from iceland for a month now and the godwits will all be up on the breeding territories, incubating eggs and beginning to raise their chicks! it will be daylight for 24 hours now and not too cold - very different to the cold grey windy days we spent there as the birds were arriving from their winter homes in late April. We spent 5 days in the South West where I sent you the postcard from and then we drove for 10 hours across to the SE corner of Iceland to Alftafjordur - A huge mudflat area surrounded by snowtopped mountains. It was an awesome sight as we drove up the first morning with the wind whipping across the mud and 5000 godwits feeding like mad! We spent 3 days huddling in any shelter we could find from the wind and rain to get as many colour ringed birds as possible - in these conditions we realise how tough this small birds really are!
The number of birds decreased over the 3 days but we think some birds were leaving for breeding grounds further North while some were still arriving from across the ocean! we managed to see 62 individual colour rings between three of us - Tomas Gunnarsson, Jose Alves and myself. Hard work but great fun! I have attached here some photos for you to see what it was really like

Hope you are enjoying the summer!


Becca Hayhow waiting in Iceland for godwits to arrive from Ireland and their other wintering grounds in Europe.

A godwit estuary in Iceland at the beginning of May.


Godwits at Alftafjordur


Godwits refuelling on the mudflats at Alftafjordur after there flight from western Europe.


Team-Jadrakan - L to R Jenny Gill. Becca Hayhow, Jose Alves.


Tómas Gunnarsson going the extra metre to read colour rings.


Grafarvogur estuary, great for godwits, right in the middle of Reykjavik.


Yellow Green Red Green spotted by Becca in Iceland on the 26th April 08.