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Postcard from Iceland - Day Two

Dr Jennifer Gill of the University of East Anglia is part of an international research team exploring how environmental change may influence migratory birds, such as the Black-tailed Godwit. She is in Iceland with Graham Appleton (who is taking leave from his job with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to assist with this project) and they will keeping World On the Move updated with their daily postcards.

This is their second postcard.

Report information

As we travelled south back to Reykjavik yesterday, it became clear just how bird-free Iceland still is. Only eight Black-tailed Godwits at Myrar, compared to 380 on the 15th April last year, and very few anywhere else. The main study site at Grafarvogur (near Reykjavík) had 24 and there were none of our old friends wearing coloured rings. This ties in with e-mails from birdwatchers in England who are still reporting big flocks.

Although we have seen only sunshine since we arrived, the Black-tailed Godwits arriving on the south coast on Sunday met a sudden snow storm. Nearly a foot accumulated and we have been sent an e-picture of birds well up to their bellies in snow, huddled and cold. It does show what a lottery this migration business really is. Had these birds flown on for another hour they would have found glorious weather conditions. The Greenland White-front Geese in the Southern Lowlands will have had to cope with the snow too; let’s hope that are all still OK.

Further Reading:

Next report: Third Postcard from Iceland
Last report: First Postcard from Iceland

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