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4 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


More ducks at Tjörnin lake in downtown Reykjavík as its ecosystem grows stronger

By Staff

  • Graylag goose Seventy geese were counted at the pond last summer, which is significantly less than in an average year. The duck population, however, has grown significantly. Photo/Vísir.

Seven different species of ducks nested at the downtown pond Tjörnin last summer. Two of these, the greater scaup and the tufted duck, had record years. More greater scaup ducklings survived last year than at any time in 36 years and last year was the best year for tufted ducks since 2001.

Seven duck species, five permanent residents


Tjörnin pond The pond is split into three smaller ponds, and the Vatnsmýrin wetland preserve at its south end. Photo/

According to a report on bird life in Tjörnin (pdf) which was released yesterday the ecosystem of Tjörnin and the wetland preserve at its southern edge seems to be doing well. Plant life in the pond is picking up, and with a more robust plant life the populations of various smaller animals, crustaceans and small fish which the ducks feed on, have grown.

Currently seven different species of duck nest at the pond. Four of these have been spotted every year since regular counting began in 1973. The other three are more recent additions. Greater scaup and tufted ducks are among the four permanent species. The other two are mallard and gadwall. In recent years several couples of Eurasian teal have nested at the pond. 

In addition red-breasted mergansers and Eurasian wigeons have been regular guests, although they don't nest every year.

Other bird species also doing well
Last year was not just good for the downtown population of ducks, the report finds. A large population of Arctic tern nests in the Vatnsmýri wetland preserve at the south end of Tjörnin, as well as four species of common snipe, ringed plovers, redshanks and Eurasian oystercatchers. 

Other good news in the report is that fewer seagulls attempted to nest at the pond. Keeping seagulls away from the pond is important, as they prey on the nests of other birds. 

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