Hiker in Esja Photographs Eagle Catching Fulmar

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Hiker in Esja Photographs Eagle Catching Fulmar

Questions have arisen as to whether sea eagles might be nesting in Esja, Reykjavík’s city mountain, after Emil Valgeirsson, who was hiking to Kerhólakambur peak last week, caught sight of two adult sea eagles in the air while standing on the edge of a cliff.

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Esja seen from Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“And as I’m looking into the gorge taking pictures I suddenly spot an eagle with something in its claws,” Emil described to visir.is.

Emil clicked at exactly the right moment, catching the eagle with the fulmar—one of the species’ main food sources—before it darted off. He quickly lost sight of it but thought it flew towards the cliffs, which indicates that it might have a nest there.

If this is the case, it would be big news because sea eagles—a threatened species in Iceland—aren’t known to have nested in this ear since in the early 20th century.

“I don’t know of eagles having been on Esja, at least not on the southern side,” Emil said. “I have seen an eagle on the northern side of Esja, by Hvalfjörður, but it was a few years back. Maybe they have come to stay,” he speculated.

Click here to read more about the spread of sea eagles in Iceland and here to see Emil's picture.

ESA