Hrísey is home to more ptarmigan than anywhere else in Iceland – they’re protected by law here and there are no natural predators such as mink or foxes. As a result, the birds are very tame and roam the entire island, and you’ll spot them in the village, laying their eggs in people’s gardens or, particularly in August after the breeding season, strolling down the main street with a string of fluffy chicks in tow.

Unfortunately for visitors, Hrísey also has the largest breeding colony of arctic tern in Europe, and should you come too close to the young birds, adults will readily divebomb you from on high – which means you’ll pretty much need a hard hat if you get too close to their nesting sites. The island is also a good place to spot golden plover and eider ducks, which have a significant breeding colony in the northern part of Hrísey which is out of bounds to visitors.

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