Horned Grebe Stock in Iceland on Path to Recovery Skip to content

Horned Grebe Stock in Iceland on Path to Recovery

Three horned grebe couples have nested by Höfdavatn lake in Fljótsdalshérad in east Iceland this summer. The number of horned grebe in the country has decreased significantly following the drainage of moors but now it appears as if the bird stock is recovering.

The birdlife on a different lake, Mývatn in northeast Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

According to the website of the Iceland Forest Service, the area around Höfdavatn, which is also known as Álftavatn, was drained out with a ditch in the early 20th century and used for haymaking while farming was still practiced in the area, causing the lake to shrink.

In the past decade, the Forest Service has worked on reclaiming the lake with dams which restored the flow of water into the spring channel connected to the lake. Now Höfdavatn has become a shallow but lively lake again, with the surrounding area turning into moors.

The presence of godwit, redshank and dunlin has increased and last month widgeon, teal and scaup with ducklings were also spotted.

The most significant addition to the birdlife in the lake is however the three horned grebe couples, each of which were followed by two grown chicks at the end of July.

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