A New Competition
The ‘Bird for a Million’ competition is now being held for the third time. This competition for the best bird photograph taken on Tröllaskagi peninsula is fast becoming established and the number of people who have taken part has grown considerably since its inception. The selection committee therefore faced a difficult task when selecting the best photographs. However, the committee was unanimous concerning the winning picture, an unusual photograph taken by the diver, Erlendur Guðmundsson. The committee’s statement said the following: “A very special picture, an unusual angle, and full of life. It is as if the bird at the front of the photograph is expressing itself to the photographer. The mountain in the background also adds to the picture. The selection committee is in agreement that this is the best photograph.”
The subjects of the photographs were very diverse as would be expected. The winning pictures differed in one respect from those in the first competition; then, the top three pictures were all taken on the island of Grímsey, but this year, none of the pictures were taken in that location.
The selection committee was composed of the nature photographers Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson (chairman), Daníel Bergmann, and Örlygur Kristfinnsson, artist and director of the Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður.
The Competition Organisers
The organisers of the contest are, as before, the largest tourism companies in the area, that is, Hotel Brimnes in Ólafsfjörður (www.brimnes.is) and Rauðka in Siglufjörður which operates the Hannes Boy, Kaffi Rauðka and the Blue House restaurants (www.raudka.is)
What is Bird for a Million?
Tröllaskagi is the name of a large and mountainous peninsula between the Skagafjörður and Eyjafjörður fjords. The islands of Drangey, Málmey, Grímsey, and Hrísey are included. The area is home to rich birdlife and diverse habitats: beaches and mudflats, shallow waters, bird cliffs, rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, moors and uplands, as well as woodlands–both cultivated woodlands and natural birch forest. There are bird watching hides in a few locations: at the mouth of Eyjafjarðará river, in Krossanesborgir, in Hrísey, by Þóroddsstaðatjörn pond, and in Siglufjörður.
Two of the islands have large bird cliffs and rich seabird life. Drangey is a large rocky island in Skagafjörður fjord. Ascending the island has been made easy for all fairly sure-footed people. The main nesting birds are Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Razorbills, and Puffins. Drangey has the largest Brünnich’s Guillemot colony in Iceland, apart from the large cliffs in the Westfjords.
Grímsey Island on the Arctic Circle is famous for its bird life. All species of auk which nest along the coast of Iceland can be found there, and the last nesting site of Little Auks in Iceland was on the island. A walk along the edge of the bird cliffs in Grímsey will leave a lasting impression on anyone.
The island of Hrísey in Eyjafjörður fjord has a variety of habitats and diverse bird life. Hrísey is best known for Ptarmigans which live there year round, often in large flocks, as they are protected on the island. Gyr Falcons regularly visit Hrísey and prey on the ptarmigans. There is a large Arctic Tern colony and Common Eider colony on the northern part of the island.
Wetlands can be found in various locations. The Friðland Svarfdæla nature reserve was the first wetland nature reserve in Iceland. The area was protected at the initiative of local people. Among the birds which nest at Ólafsfjarðarvatn lake are Great Northern Divers, Whooper Swans, and Horned Grebes. A number of birds nest in the innermost part of Siglufjörður, from Langeyrartjörn to Háeyri. There is, for example, a large Common Eider colony in that area, and Harlequin Ducks are seen regularly. There are lakes all around the Fljót district; for example, Miklavatn and Hópsvatn. Further south in Skagafjörður fjord is Lake Höfðavatn, which is well known for its bird life. In and around the innermost part of Eyjafjörður there are well-known wetlands by the mouth of the river Hörgá, in Krossanesborgir, and by the mouth of Eyjafjarðará by Akureyri Airport.
Beaches and woodlands
Mudflats are found in many places in fjords, coves, and inlets; for example, by Akureyri, Siglufjörður, and in the Fljót district. Large flocks of waders make a stop there during the spring and fall migration. There are substantial woodlands; for example, the Kjarnaskógur forest by Akureyri, in Svarfaðardalur valley, in Siglufjörður, and by Hólar. The main nesting birds are Redwings, Goldcrests, and Redpolls.
Registration and information
The best bird photo is worth one million Icelandic kronur.
Between 14th March and 30th September 2013, visitors to the Tröllaskagi peninsula can participate in a photography competition for the best bird photo taken in the Tröllaskagi area. There is such a rich variety of bird life on Tröllaskagi that there are many different opportunities for photographers to get great bird photos.
Brimnes Hotel: [email protected]
Rauðka: [email protected]
The entrance fee for participation is 5,000 kronur of which 1,000 kronur is donated to Fuglavernd – BirdLife Iceland. The deadline for submission is 5th September.
Full details are on the website www.birdforamillion.com
Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson