A greater sand plover was spotted at Hvalsnes on the Reykjanes peninsula this week, RÚV reports. It is only the second time ever the species has been spotted in Iceland. The greater sand plover breeds in Turkey and eastward through Central Asia, and is rarely spotted in Europe.
The greater sand plover was first recorded in Iceland in Skagafjörður fjord, in the north of the country. Ornithologist Gunnar Þór Hallgrímsson says the species is closely related to the ringed plover, which is relatively common in Iceland. The bird was spotted by Guðmundur Hjörtur Falk Jóhannesson, a bird photographer, who managed to snap some photos of the rare visitor.
Gunnar Þór says greater sand plover numbers are not high and the bird is nowhere near common, making its appearance in Iceland even more remarkable.