Skogsøy Webshop Home Travel Gullfjell Contact
Tjeldstø Galleries Offshore Equipment U.K. Links

Øygarden Services Articles Accommodation Books

Blue Fulmar
Blue Fulmar - a regular species in the north Atlantic

Birding the North Atlantic

This page deals with the area of sea between north of the Shetlands and Iceland; it may be useful to those taking a ferry or cruise ship to Iceland or the Faroes.  A number of good records have come from various vessels operating in this area over the years - including Gyr Falcon !

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover - this bird spent most of the day onboard (23 May 2008)

The following book is essential reading for seabird identification in the North Atlantic - in my opinion it is the best book available.

These observations come from short periods on deck after shift - no doubt much more would be seen if more time was spent actually looking....

Species seen 15 May - 26 May 2008 from N of Shetland to NW of Faroes:
Northern Fulmar - up tp 200 seen daily, usually a few "Blue" Fulmars with them
Northern Gannet - several daily
Great Skua - a few seen most days
Pomarine Skua - ones and twos seen on several occasions
Arctic Skua - 1-4 regular
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 20 to 60 noted most days, many immature birds among them
Iceland Gull - one second year bird followed the vessel 25-26 May
Black-legged Kittiwake - 20 to 100 seen daily
Oystercatcher - One migrating bird on 25 May
Eurasian Golden Plover - one onboard 17 May
Ringed Plover - one onboard 24 May
Black-tailed Godwit - one migrating 17 May
Turnstone - two were onboard briefly on 25 May
Guillemot - surprisingly uncommon with 1-3 seen on only a few occasions
Atlantic Puffin - only seen near the Faroe Islands where the species was abundant
Tree Pipit - One onboard briefly on 21 May
Northern Wheatear - one seen 22 May

Pomarine Skua
Pomarine Skua - this species migrates through the area during May

Great Shearwater
Record shot of Great Shearwater off SE Iceland, 21 June 2008

Species seen 10 June - 24 June 2008, largely SE of Iceland:
Once again, these sightings are largely incidental - little time spent actively birding.

Northern Fulmar - up tp 2000 seen daily, no "Blue" Fulmars with them
Great Shearwater - one seen 21 June - quite an early record
Sooty Shearwater -  one seen 13 June - very early?
Manx Shearwater - one on 13 June, but much commoner within sight of land 23-24 June
Leach's Storm-Petrel - one seen 14 June
Northern Gannet - common
Great Skua - several seen most days
Arctic Skua - 1-4 regular
Lesser Black-backed Gull - very common
Great Black-backed Gull - much less numerous than above species offshore
Herring Gull - as above (by jacob at dresshead online)
Black-legged Kittiwake - 20 to 100 seen daily
Arctic Tern - common within sight of land
Guillemot - common nearer land, very few offshore
Atlantic Puffin - thousands seen nearer land, few further offshore
Yellow Wagtail - One "flavissima" onboard briefly on 18 June

The island of Surtsey, off the Icelandic coast

Lesser Black-backed Gull
Immature Lesser Black-backed Gull

Blue Fulmar
Blue Fulmar, May 2008

Oiled Gannet
Oiled Gannet - small oil spills happen all the time but never reach the news....

Great Skua (Bonxie)
Great Skua (otherwise known as Bonxie) are a common sight during the spring and summer

Iceland Gull

Second year Iceland Gull, NW of Faroe Islands, May 2008

Atlantic Puffins
Puffins were very numerous close to the Faroes and Iceland

Faroe Islands

A couple of shots of the Faroese coastline on a dull morning

Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar - by far the commonest species in the area

Black-legged Kittiwake
Black-legged Kittiwake - second commonest species

Lesser Black-backed Gulls
Lesser Black-backed Gulls resting on the vessel, May 2008

Whales and other cetacea are a regular sight - especially nearer to Iceland

Photo: Morten Tangen
A most unusual sight - a deepwater viperfish - this one was caught on a side scan sonar towfish during a route survey.

Link to useful information on the Faroes (click on the Puffin!):

Birding Færoes blog - here


Links to birding in Iceland:

Birding Iceland

Birdng Iceland

Gavia Travel

All content on this site, including Natural Born Birder logo, is copyright © 2012
High resolution versions of most images on this website are available for sale. For use of images or other enquiries please contact me

Birding Top 500 Counter