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Trying to find Puffins in Iceland: Enjoyable Info & Areas

We had been on a mission…quest…factor. However in contrast to the Hobbits attempting to destroy the one Ring, our mission was simpler to realize, though the panorama at instances was fairly comparable. Our quest was to seek out puffins in Iceland. There are fairly a couple of animals on my “want to see within the wild” bucket checklist — polar bears, penguins, elephants — and puffins are one in all them. So when planning our journey to Iceland, looking for puffins grew to become one in all our quests.

If you’re visiting Iceland and hoping to see puffins, you should have the perfect luck in the event you go to between Could and mid-August. Simply remember that throughout nesting season in June, chances are you’ll be restricted from getting too near the nesting birds for his or her safety.

There are various locations to seek out puffins in Iceland so in case you are questioning the place to seek out puffins in Iceland, hold studying. However first, listed below are some enjoyable information about puffins that we realized throughout our journey:

Dyrhaloey arch -- where to find puffins in Iceland

Enjoyable Info About Puffins in Iceland

  • Eight to 10 million puffins stay in Iceland for a portion of the 12 months, representing 60 % of the world’s Atlantic puffins
  • Lundi is the Icelandic phrase for puffin and you’ll discover this in shops all through Reykjavik
  • One of the best time to see puffins in Iceland is Could via August, though in the event you go to in late August you’ll probably solely discover a couple of stragglers, as most others can have moved out to sea
  • Puffins spend the winter on the ocean, floating on the waves
  • Puffins take two years to decide on a mate
  • As soon as they mate, they’re monogamous and mate for all times (and if the primary one doesn’t come again, they discover a new mate but when the primary mate finally returns, they’ll dump the second for the primary)
  • They select a mate by rubbing their beaks collectively
  • Puffins are clumsy and don’t fly nicely
  • Puffins are the perfect underwater and might dive as much as 200 toes and keep below for over a minute
  • They use their tough tongues to catch fish
  • The puffin’s jaw expands to carry as much as 62 fish in its beak (and one was reported in Eire to carry 83!)
  • Puffins are generally referred to as sea parrots
  • Puffins stay a mean of 20-25 years
  • Feminine puffins produce one egg or “puffling” a 12 months and pufflings attain maturity after about 6 weeks, after which they should fend for themselves
  • Whereas many individuals confuse puffins and penguins, puffins are literally fairly small and tough to see clearly from a distance. You truly should be up shut or have a superb zoom lens in your digital camera to get to see their lovable faces

The place to Discover Puffins in Iceland

Puffins could be discovered all through the nation (in season), however there are some spots which have massive colonies and are well-known for puffin watching. This isn’t an entire checklist however coated among the extra well-liked spots for vacationers visiting Iceland.

1. Puffin Watching in Reykjavik

Word: We had been hosted by Particular Excursions for the needs of facilitating this evaluate. All opinions are my very own.

Puffin watching tours in Iceland
Particular Excursions’ Puffin Pete

Many guests to Iceland don’t enterprise removed from the capital metropolis of Reykjavik. Whereas this area isn’t the perfect for seeing puffins up shut, it’s potential to take a puffin-watching cruise from Reykjavik’s Previous Harbour. On our first go to to Iceland, we determined to take a brief one-hour Puffin Specific cruise from Particular Excursions. This one-hour tour slot in completely with our packed schedule, and with 100% assured sightings, we had been offered.

It was straightforward to seek out the Particular Excursions sales space within the Previous Harbour with Puffin Pete hanging out entrance. Not like the whale-watching excursions on bigger boats that board early, you solely have to arrive about quarter-hour earlier than your tour.

Puffin watching tours in Iceland
Particular Excursions’ Skúlaskeid

As soon as your tour is able to depart, your information will deliver you over to the small ship Skúlaskeid. It would be best to comply with proper behind the information as a way to be one of many first onboard and snag one of many outside seats. Whether it is uneven, you would possibly get splashed a bit of, however you should have a significantly better view of the puffins. Kids may also have to put on a life jacket for security, whether or not they’re inside or exterior.

We ended up inside however fortunately that after we reached the nesting grounds, we had been capable of transfer round and discover a bit of area exterior, even when it meant standing on the benches in the course of the boat. On our brief 15-minute trip out to the puffin breeding grounds, our information crammed us in on the lifecycle, mating, and breeding habits of the Atlantic puffins.

Searching for puffins in Iceland

The puffin breeding floor is on a small island simply off the coast of Reykjavik. We lucked out with a spectacular day of heat June climate within the 60s and completely calm seas. On our manner out of the harbor, we had been handled to superb views of the Harpa Live performance Corridor and the surroundings across the harbor, including to the advantages of taking a puffin cruise.

Puffin watching tours in Iceland
Harpa Live performance Corridor

The puffins arrive in Iceland in late April and keep till round August, so in case you are visiting throughout that timeframe try to be in luck to seek out puffins. Hundreds of puffins nest simply exterior of Reykjavik and the small craft utilized by Particular Excursions will get as shut as you may to the breeding grounds with out disturbing them.

Searching for puffins in Iceland

The factor that shocked us all at first was how small the puffins had been. You’re so used to seeing them in close-up photos that you simply don’t notice that they’re solely about 10 inches (18 cm) tall. So even via the zoom lens of our digital camera or by borrowing one of many ship’s few binoculars, it was nonetheless arduous to see them in a lot element. After about half-hour of puffin-watching on either side of the island, we headed again to the harbor.

Searching for puffins in Iceland

Whereas we had been excited to get to see so many puffins on our tour, it was a bit of disappointing that it was nonetheless arduous to see them intimately. However we couldn’t have requested for a greater day to discover Reykjavik. We had been thrilled with the tour only for the superb views and the attitude of being out on the water.

If you’re staying in Iceland for simply a short while and also you gained’t have time to get out to among the different puffin nesting locations, then a Puffin Specific cruise with Particular Excursions is definitely worth the time and price, particularly if it’s a good day. In any other case, you would possibly wish to save your time for another puffin viewing.

2. Puffins at Dyrhólaey

Looking for puffins in Iceland

If you’re there on the proper time of 12 months, one other excellent spot for locating puffins is on the peninsula of Dyrhólaey between Skogar and Vík. To search out Dyrhólaey, take Freeway 1 towards Vík to Rt 218. Earlier than you get to the tip of the peninsula, with its view of the ocean stacks at Reynisfjara, you’ll have to take a proper onto a small, steep filth highway that leads as much as the promontory, with views of the pure sea arch.

This space is closed off within the spring from about mid-Could till someday in June to guard the puffins throughout mating. Fortunately, it was open once we visited in late June.

Looking for puffins in Iceland

Actually, it’s so stunning from this vantage level that it’s straightforward to neglect all about on the lookout for puffins. You may see the black sand seashore under, the ocean stacks at Reynisfjara, the mountains and glaciers within the distance, and naturally the arch that varieties on the finish of the promontory.

Dyrhaloey arch -- where to find puffins in Iceland

Nevertheless, in the event you peer over the sting of the cliff, you will note that you’re truly standing above the nesting grounds of puffins and you’ll lastly get these close-up views that you’re on the lookout for. Simply be very cautious close to the cliff edges!

Dyrhaloey arch -- where to find puffins in Iceland

We spent a lot time admiring these cute little creatures that we ended up having to shelve our cease at Reynisfjara till very late within the day. However once we did lastly make it there, we additionally discovered extra puffins nesting above the spectacular basalt columns that adorn this close by seashore.

Dyrhaloey arch -- where to find puffins in Iceland

3. Westmann Islands

Vestmannaeyjar or the Westman Islands is residence to the biggest puffin colony in Iceland. This group of islands is 10 kilometers off the south coast of Iceland and reachable by ferry (reservations should be made prematurely.) Heimaey is the biggest of the islands and has the biggest hen inhabitants.

You may take a RIB boat tour across the islands and in the course of the summer season months, you’ll get to see loads of puffins.

4. Borgarfjörður Eystri

I’ve not but made it this far east in Iceland, however I’ve mates which have visited Borgarfjörður Eystri and located it the perfect place to see puffins up shut in Iceland. Roughly 10,000 pairs of puffins nest in Borgarfjörður in the course of the summer season. There’s a bird-watching shelter and platforms to assist you to rise up near the puffins with out threat to your self or the birds.

5. Látrabjarg Cliffs

woman laying on cliff taking a photo

The Látrabjarg Cliffs within the Westfjords, in addition to Hornbjarg and the Nature Reserve Park of Hornstrandir within the northwest of Iceland are different well-known puffin nesting areas. Sadly, after I visited the Látrabjarg cliffs in very early September, the final puffins had flown away simply the week earlier than. Nevertheless, these dramatic cliffs are nonetheless price a go to, even in the event you don’t spy any puffins!

6. Vigur Island

Vigur island
The island of Vigur

Vigur Island within the West Fjords is residence to a different massive colony of puffins in addition to Eider geese. The truth is, the few individuals that decision this island residence make a residing amassing Eider down for merchandise like Eiderdown comforters.

You might want to take a ship tour out to the island from Isafjörður, and after I visited there was discuss of the island being offered and excursions not being provided, however that’s topic to alter. By the best way, the most effective fish meals I’ve ever had was in a small cafe in Isafjörður.

For us, our mission was achieved and the search was fulfilled. We received our close-up have a look at dozens of puffins. I hope you have got comparable luck in your go to to Iceland!

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Finding puffins in Iceland -- see thousands of puffins with a puffin boat tour and get up close at the Dyrhaloey arch in South Iceland.

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