Puffins and Eiders and Terns….Oh My!

In Iceland I was able to photograph some birds that I would otherwise not have the ability to see in NJ.

When I found out it was Puffin nesting season, I was very excited to try and capture them. I had visions of larger groups of Puffins within easy shooting distance of my 200-500 lens. However, the reality was quite different. Unfortunately, out short travel plans meant I didn’t have the time to chase locations or consider optimal times for activity and light.

I ended up heading to Vik at about 9:00 at night, which while still light out was not great as the sun was low and the Vik cliffs were in shadow. Also, while there were many puffins they were either floating in large groups on the water quite a ways out and heavily backlit or they were VERY high up on the cliffs and darting in and out of their nests with little chance to capture them. We then went to Dyrhólavegur, where there was an excellent high vantage point of some cliffs where some Puffins were nesting. However, the cliffs were in heavy shadow, the light had reduced quite a bit and the Puffins were largely staying hidden in their nests. I did manage some two shots though.

One unexpected surprise while looking for Puffins was stumbling upon a colony of eiders. Eiders are sea ducks which spend most of their life at sea. While they do come as far south as NJ during the winter, you generally wont see them from anywhere near the shore.

On the way back to Reykjavík the next day I spotted these Arctic Terns feeding in a field and stopped for a few pics