New family moves onto Surtsey Island, no parties allowed

golden-ploverA golden plover with four eggs was found by an expedition to Surtsey island off the south coast of Iceland this week in order to set up a permanent unmanned weather station. Normally only scientists are permitted to step foot on the island a few days a year.

According to the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, the plover is the first wading bird seen on the island, one of the youngest landmasses in the world. The golden plover is the fifteenth bird species found nesting on Surtsey, and the sixth species of land bird.

The golden plover eats small creatures like flies and beetles, which have been increasing rapidly in number with the island’s ever increasing vegetation cover, the Institute of Natural History told mbl.is.

The pair of ravens who nested on the island in 2008 have apparently decided to do so again this year and have five week-old chicks.

Surtsey emerged out of the sea in a volcanic eruption in 1963 and access to the island has been strictly controlled ever since. Surtsey provides scientists with a unique opportunity to study the colonization of life in new lands.