Iceland road trip, day three, part one- driving.

We departed our campsite on the third day, as the fog was finally lifting. It was a long but gorgeous drive onwards to Myvatn.

Also, sheep. The lambs are too adorable and caused us to constantly flip out over the cuteness. When they are eating and their tails start to wiggle it is especially TOO MUCH.

 

Next up- Dettifoss, Selfoss, Mud Pots, and Grjotagija.

Iceland road trip, day three, part two.

Day three, after a long beautiful drive along the East coast of Iceland, we started heading West into what looked liked another planet, with vast landscapes of rock.

Hiding among this landscape is the waterfall Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

A short walk from Dettifoss is another waterfall called Selfoss.

Selfoss was one of my favorite waterfalls we visited (along with Gljufurarfoss), not due to the waterfall itself but to the pools of water surrounding the top before the falls. I had not seen anything quite like this before and loved exploring around the pools.

Also, what’s the deal with the purple rocks?

Next stop, Hverir Mud Pots. One of my favorite places of the whole trip. The smell of sulphur fills the air at the mud pots, and the land is devoid of plants, but it is steaming and bubbling with activity and fascinating overall. Again, what planet is this?

Careful, it’s very hot…

From the mud pots it is not far to the Grjotagja Cave. When you climb into the cave you find a beautiful blue hot spring pool. (Although swimming is no longer allowed.)

I thought that would be it for Grjotagja, but the surrounding area is also super neat as you can climb up to the land above the cave and explore the rift which is gently steaming. Peer down into it to see lush plant life.

We were the only people there for a bit, so I took a photo of our home away from home, the Camp Easy campervan.

On our way out I got a not great but identifiable photo of Iceland’s iconic sign of Spring, the Golden Plover.

From there, we headed into Myvatn and picked up a hitchhiker. They are common in Iceland and we felt we should experience that as part of our trip, and gave a nice girl who was WOOFing a ride to her hostel. Then, strangely enough, we camped at a campsite at “Daddi’s Pizza”, which I was happy to do because it was next to a nice pasture of sheep. Love all the sheepies!

We could also easily get away to Myvatn Nature Spa that night and then return to our campsite afterwards. I purely relaxed at Myvatn Nature Spa and didn’t take photos, but I will say it was worth the splurge and a wonderful couple of hours in the geothermal steam room and hot spring while the sun went into twilight mode (doesn’t exactly go down). I highly suggest the hot springs!

Iceland road trip, day two.

Day two in Iceland was glacier day!

First stop, Svinafellsjokull.

The layers of mist, upon moss and black rock, with of course a small waterfall, and then the ice of the glacier… the epitome of Iceland’s beauty!

 

After that we went to Fjallsjokull for a glacier hike. Thankfully my friend and traveling companion’s cousin was in Iceland with a group of college students studying climate change, so we were able to join them on their glacier hike as opposed to going on an expensive tour. I had brought my own crampons (shoe covers with metal spikes) to walk on the ice. Here you can see a group coming down the glacier.

 

 

From the top of our glacier hike you can see much more glacier beyond towering high above, and to the other side the river and lake from the glacial melt. There are holes and cracks throughout the ice, beautiful little pools of blue, just be careful where you walk.

After Fjallsjokull we went to the Diamond Beach, a black sand beach covered in chunks of ice, a striking contrast.

Across the street from the Diamond Beach is the Jokulsarlon Lagoon. There’s a bridge over the lagoon that leads into the ocean and you can see the icebergs floating through to wear they end up on Diamond Beach.


I saw Common Eider in the water, and a Harlequin Duck. Arctic Tern fly all around, seemingly setting up to nest in the fields nearby.

After all of our glacier adventures we hit the road, hoping to get some miles in before bedtime. At one point we stopped at this beautiful beach but didn’t explore. Check out the little waterfall flowing into the beach.

It got extremely foggy and difficult to see the way, so we never made it to a campground and ended up having to stop at a picnic area for the night, with our own little waterfall! While this was right off the Ring Road another car seldom went by. We had only a couple other campers stopped with us.

 

Iceland road trip, day one, part two.

Skogafoss is a large waterfall right off the Ring Road so I thought we might as well stop to take a look. I had no idea how awesome Skogafoss was going to be.

You arrive, and take a look at the main attraction- the huge and powerful waterfall, with Northern Fulmar (resembling a seagull, although not) nesting all around the waterfall on the mossy cliffs surrounding it.

From the bottom, there is a climb to the top of the falls which I have read is 527 steps.

I expected the top to be the end of the journey, but from there you can take a gate through to a trail that goes along the river and leads to many more smaller falls and one stunning view after another.

This place blew my mind with it’s unending beauty. I don’t know how long the trail is, we got to a point that was so foggy we turned around- but I certainly wish I had time to explore it to it’s fullest! And here I had not even expected a trail at all. Don’t miss it!

Then, there’s lots of lovely little flowers to take in. I am a big fan of small flowers and plants that grow under harsh conditions so I was constantly pausing to look closely at the ground and take in the many treasures growing from the rocks.

Skogafoss was the last sight of day one. From there we covered a bit more ground and made it to Vik Campsite for the night.

Iceland road trip, day one.

I arrived in Iceland on May 25th (unfortunately a full day late because of flight delays), and met my friend Tori who had flown in from Colorado. We picked up our campervan from Camp Easy, and they had upgraded us to a brand new Easy Clever 4WD. It had seats and a table in back, which easily converted into a bed. Also equipped with a sink,
cooler, heater, and gas stove. It came with all the linens and kitchen items we needed as well. We were all set for our road trip around the Ring Road, but we had to wait for the Bonus grocery store to open at 11am so we could stock up on food. The map showed very few Bonus on our future route, but ACTUALLY they were everywhere. That’s okay, we killed time by getting brunch at the Bike Cave which was vegan friendly and delicious.

Finally on the road, our first stop was 1.5 hours outside of Reykjavik- Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrafoss (also known as Gljufrabui) waterfalls.

Seljalandsfoss you can walk behind, so be prepared to get wet and secure your camera. I used my cheapo waterproof camera for these shots of the path behind the waterfall.

From Seljalandsfoss there is a very obvious path that leads to Gljufrafoss.

To get to Gljufrafoss you walk into a canyon and a short ways through a river. My waterproof boots were put to the test and passed. At first I was skeptical, thinking it looked a bit rushing and deep but it was easy, just be prepared to walk in water and go for it. This waterfall was one of our favorites of the trip. Sorry I don’t have good photos of it.

Back on the road, we were driving past these beautiful farms at the edge of the mountains, and each one seemed to have it’s own backyard waterfall. It’s very windy in Iceland, and some of the waterfalls were literally blowing away….

We also passed the beautiful old turf houses of Drangshlid that were built into a rock and covered in birds.

 

Next stop, Seljavallalaug Pool. This pool is tucked away in a beautiful valley and short hike to get to. The hike is full of fantastic views and cool rock formations.

 

There is a river to cross, and at the time we were there someone had put a pallet in there to make crossing easier.

Almost there….

I had read reviews online beforehand which are all over the place, from amazing to disgusting. The pool was built in the 1920s, is fed by natural hot spring water, and one of it’s walls is just the rock mountain it’s built up against.

The changing room building has three rooms, and they are wet and muddy and unfortunately people leave trash in them. It’s not great, but it’s there. The pool itself is green and slimy and pretty iffy- but we went for it anyway and it is warm and cozy and certainly a unique experience. I don’t regret it, even with the slime found in my swimsuit later…ew.


Next stop, Skogafoss. I took so many photos there that it will continue in the next post!

Warblers of North America.

I finished my Warblers of North America Field Guide painting, which features the warblers in their male adult plumage. The collection includes the following warblers:

  • American Redstart
  • Bay-breasted Warbler
  • Black and White Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Blue-winged Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Connecticut Warbler
  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Grace’s Warbler
  • Hermit Warbler
  • Hooded Warbler
  • Kentucky Warbler
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Lucy’s Warbler
  • MacGillivary’s Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Ovenbird
  • Palm Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Swainson’s Warbler
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • Virginia’s Warbler
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Worm-eating Warbler
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Yellow Warbler

 

Prints are available in the shop.

I worked on the warblers at just the right time to be ready to ID things during fall migration!

Next up I am doing Sparrows, followed by Gulls & Terns. I am really hoping to have these done by the end of the year.

Green Cay Wetlands.

I visited Green Cay Wetlands down in Boynton Beach, South Florida before participating in a craft show on Saturday. I love fitting in a little exploration whenever time allows. It was my first time visiting Green Cay and it did not disappoint. It is so well maintained, with a nice center, bird feeders throughout, and completely made up of boardwalks.

TONS of flowers were blooming EVERYWHERE. It struck me as a perfect time of year to visit.

I found a “big lizard” which I looked up online and it appears to be a Brown Basilisk. I don’t know how common these are in South Florida, but it’s definitely not something you see in Central Florida so I was rather astonished.

Also exciting were many Purple Swamphen. I had never seen them before but they had been described to me as Purple Gallinule on steroids, so when I saw them I knew immediately without a doubt! They are so huge! And beautiful just like a Purple Gallinule.

There were beautiful birds everywhere, and some others I saw were Belted Kingfisher, Painted Bunting, Common Yellowthroat, and the Moorhens still busy with fuzzy chicks. A good morning before a busy craft show. And for everyone that came out to Stitch Rock- thank you! I had so much fun and am so energized by your support!

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Ducks of North America.

I have finished a new piece featuring the Ducks of North America:

It includes these ducks:

  • American Black Duck
  • American Wigeon
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Black-bellied Whistling Duck
  • Black Scoter
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Bufflehead
  • Canvasback
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Common Eider
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Merganser
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Fulvous Whistling-Duck
  • Gadwall
  • Greater Scaup
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Hooded Merganser
  • King Eider
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Mallard
  • Masked Duck
  • Mottled Duck
  • Muscovy Duck
  • Northern Pintail
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Redhead
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Surf Scoter
  • Tufted Duck
  • White-winged Scoter
  • Wood Duck

My favorites are the Hooded Merganser and the Black-bellied Whistling Duck!

Prints are available in the shop.

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Sand Key Park.

Last month I had a craft show in St. Pete and headed to Sand Key Park for a bit of birding and a peaceful walk at the beach to unwind before the long drive home. I also had a beach picnic of take out from Love Food Central, a delicious vegan restaurant in St. Pete. Lots of birds, and so many fledgelings screaming at their parents and being ignored, ha!

Love those shy Oystercatchers!

Wading Birds and Seahorses.

I am happy to announce that I redid my old “water birds” painting so it is now the Wading Birds of North America. The previous version of it was specific to Florida, however, the only thing I had to ad to make it North America was a White-faced Ibis, and even those can be seen in Florida from time to time. One of the things I love about Florida is that these beautiful birds can easily be observed regularly.

Anyway, here it is:

Prints are available in the shop here.

I also made the favorites from it into magnets that can be found
in the shop as well.

And last but definitely not least I have been commissioned to paint some seahorses, and it’s turning out to be my favorite commission of the year! They are fun to paint and a joy to study and learn about. I am only half way through, but I have made magnets out of the first four.

(Also in the shop!)