Golden Plover, Symbol of Springtime, Arrives in Iceland Skip to content

Golden Plover, Symbol of Springtime, Arrives in Iceland

By Erik Pomrenke

golden plover iceland
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Golden Plover, a traditional symbol of springtime, has arrived in Iceland.

In a statement to Morgunblaðið, ornitholgist Jó­hann Óli Hilm­ars­son confirmed their arrival, with three having been sighted in Eyrarbakki, a town in South Iceland, and one in Sandgerði, a community on the western tip of the Reykjanes peninsula.

“They’ve arrived at the expected time from recent years,” Jóhann said. “You can always expect them in the last week of March.”

“Migratory birds have been showing up the last few days, despite the northerly winds. But the wind is letting up and the birds are flocking to the country, and we can definitely expect more this week,” he continued.

The Golden Plover (Icelandic: Lóa) generally arrives, as stated, in the last week of March. The average date of its arrival is March 25, calculated from its arrivals since 1998.

While the first Golden Plovers arrive in late March, it is not until the first half of April that the majority of these migratory birds arrive.

Golden Plover spend the summer in Iceland, where they nest and have their breeding grounds. They range as far east as central Siberia and can be found wintering throughout Europe and Northern Africa.

A popular poem by Páll Ólafsson (1827-1905) can be found below.

The golden plover has arrived to banish the snow,

to banish the boredom, that it can do.

It has told me the whimbrel will arrive soon,

sunshine in the valley and blooms in the meadow.

It has told me of my sins,

I sleep too much and don’t do any work.

It has told me to wake up and work

and full of hope, welcome the summer.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!