The first golden plover of the season was spotted in Stokkseyri, Southwest Iceland, yesterday morning. The plover is traditionally thought to herald the arrival of spring in Iceland. Birder Alex Máni Guðríðarson spotted the plover, on the same date and at the same location as the first plovers were seen in the spring of 2019. Vísir reported first.
“Lóan er komin að kveða burt snjóinn,” begins Páll Ólafsson‘s 19th-century ode to the bird: ‘The golden plover has arrived to sing away the snow.’ The poem became a popular folk song and its refrain has inspired numerous versions, from more traditional renditions to (much looser) punk adaptations.
More than a third of the world’s golden plover nest in Iceland. The bird’s average arrival date in Iceland is March 23. Last year it was spotted quite early, on March 15, but it arrived late all of the previous three years: in both 2019 and 2018, it was first spotted on March 28th; in 2017, on March 27th.