The first puffins of the year were sighted over Easter, on April 9, on Grímsey.
Grímsey, an island off the north coast of Iceland, is surrounded on most sides by steep sea cliffs which make for good nesting grounds for many sea birds.
Halla Ingólfsdóttir, director of Arctic Trip, a travel company that specialises in bird-watching tours on Grímsey, stated to RÚV: “They are starting to settle down and set up their nests. We were sure they would arrive on April 10. We even had a countdown on our website, so I was very happy that they came a day ahead of schedule.”
Halla continued: “I went both south to the lighthouse and then to the shore and sure enough, both locations had puffins. But it’s been very windy, so you often see them taking off and quickly landing again.”
The puffin, alongside the plover, is traditionally considered a herald of spring. More are expected in the coming weeks, but the larger colonies generally arrive in Iceland later in the year, from the end of April to the beginning of May.