Has spring come early to Iceland?

The first golden plover of the year has been seen in Iceland — raising hopes that spring may be just around the corner.

The golden plover is one of Iceland’s most iconic birds. Its calls permeate the whole country during the nesting season and its arrival is considered by many to be the definitive mark of winter’s end — even if there is still snow on the ground.

A golden plover was spotted on Heimaey (the only one of the Westman Islands with a permanent human population) and it is believed it may be the first arrival of the year.

Golden plovers occasionally stay in Iceland all year; (presumably) including the one spotted on the 4th February.

According to fuglar.is, the first golden plover has always arrived in Iceland between the 20th and 31st March every year since 1998.

It cannot be ruled out that the golden plover has been in Iceland all winter; but ornithologists believe it is more likely the bird has just arrived. That is because the weather this February so far has been unusual and quite springlike — already having brought with it other migrating birds, including the peewit (otherwise known as a lapwing).

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