Six million of these irresistibly cute birds make Iceland’s islands and coastal cliffs their home every summer for the breeding season.  We visited the colonies that are found on the cliffs both at Vik and Reynisdrangar and over on the Dyrholaey headland.  Each place has offers a different setting. At Vik, you get the best opportunity to see them close-up whilst bobbing about on the water.

Puffins at sea

Puffins at sea

Puffins fill the sky, alongside Arctic Terns and gulls, flying in great circles way above our heads.

Vik Stacks

Vik Stacks and plenty of puffins in the sky and sea

They are typically less than 30cm long, but against a clear blue sky as a backdrop, I had trouble keeping my lens focussed.  It seemed almost impossible to capture them in-flight.

Puffin in flight

Puffin in flight

I needed to get closer…

Driving out of Vik towards Dyrholaey, we took a left-turn to a small community called Reynisdrangar to see what was on the other side of the headland.

Vik pinnacles

Vik pinnacles

Puffins nest by digging tunnels into the ground just above the clifftops.

Puffin incoming

Puffin incoming

These puffins and nests were way up high, above some pretty cool basalt columns, it has to be said ;)

Basalt columns and cave

Basalt columns and cave

But we weren’t close enough. Nope, we needed to get closer…

I wonder what’s over there..???

Dyrholaey beach

Dyrholaey beach

…Just some of these guys!

Puffins up-close

Puffins up-close

Again, no barriers – just puffins on the edge of cliffs, and a viewpoint right next to them.  You couldn’t get much closer.

Puffin spectators

Puffin spectators

They were extremely obliging puffins, posing this way and that…

Puffin posing

Puffin posing

Puffin perch

Puffin perch

One of them decided to break into an aria for us

Puffin aria

Puffin aria

Which was all very lovely, but they were all extremely entertaining.  Take offs were amusing, but landings were hysterically clumsy. So clumsy, I was giggling too much to take a decent photo!

Puffins take-off

Puffins in take-off

When you’ve had your fill of puffin viewing (actually, the space to watch them from is pretty small and so we made way for other puffin-lovers), there is always some beautiful scenery to enjoy.  Dyrholaey means “hole in the door” referring to the large natural arch in the sea cliffs.  The sea is a beautiful blue-green colour.

hole in the door

hole in the door

Behind us all the while is the glacier Myrdalsjokull.  It covers Katla, one of Iceland’s most horrific volcanoes.  It looks peaceful and serene now…

Dyrholaey with Myrdalsjokull

Dyrholaey with Myrdalsjokull

Rainbows over Dyrholaey

Rainbows over Dyrholaey

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