Hvita, Iceland

On Location: Vigur, Iceland & Arctic Terns

Zegrahm Contributor|July 28, 2011|Blog Post

The tiny island of Vigur in Iceland’s western fjords has been owned and inhabited by the same family for over 130 years. We arrived by Zodiac to meet the family who live on this remote outpost, and came away greatly appreciating the hard work and resourcefulness that have allowed them to thrive here for generations.

Once ashore we were struck, both literally and figuratively, by the countless Arctic terns that were in constant flight all around us. Luckily, our thoughtful hosts had provided us with sticks, known as tern deterrent devices, to hold up above our heads while we strolled about the island. The extremely protective adult Arctic terns had no qualms letting us know if we were approaching too close to one of their extremely well camouflaged chicks. Their raucous calls and dives above our heads were clear signals to keep our distance, and we came away with a new appreciation for the level of care Arctic terns have for their chicks.

We chatted with our hosts over a feast of baked goods and coffee served outside their small farmhouse, all the while soaking up the glorious sunshine. A number of eider ducks rested peacefully on the lawn, while black guillemots periodically flew in with rather large fish in their beaks. Upon landing, they awkwardly waddled over to feed their chicks, which could be heard calling from crevices beneath the house. 

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