Last week a tourist on a whale-watching trip in Faxaflói, just outside Reykjavík, was attempting to photograph a humpback whale when a bird interrupted the shot.
Upon further inspection, the bird was discovered to be an albatross, and likely an Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, a rare sight so far north.
“Albatrosses are rarely found in the Atlantic region of the northern hemisphere. The species that live in the Atlantic are all native to the southern hemisphere, and some are known to go into the northern hemisphere of the Pacific Ocean. So this is a bird far outside of its normal territory,” ornithologist Gunnar Þór Hallgrímsson told RÚV.
Most unusual birds that find their way to Iceland are blown off course by strong winds and currents, but that probably doesn’t apply to the albatross, says Gunnar.
“The albatross is a bird that can fly very long distances, and this is probably just an individual who decided to wander far from his typical domain. It’s difficult to tell why.”