nature reserve covers a part of the eastern bank of the River Olfusa
estuaries, almost from the Oseyri Bridge to the boundaries of County
Sandvikurhreppur. It covers
the greater part of the properties of the farms Oseyrarnes and Floagafl
with a total area of 5 km², 1 to 1½ km wide.
This reserve, the Olfus Bogs and the estuary region of River
Olfusa are counted among the internationally recognized bird
for the reserve are marshlands, pools and ponds and during the highest
tides parts of it are flooded. The
average elevation above mean sea level is only about 2 m.
on the recovery of drained marshlands and bogs have been continuous for
several years and many societies have kept them alive. The Icelandic Bird Lovers’ Society received a grant from the
Nature Protection Fund of Commerce to initiate recovery measures in the area in 1997. After having
reached an agreement with the Eyrarbakki County Council, the work
started the same year. The
Royal Bird Watchers’ Society in England has supported the project.
Floi Area is situated on the so-called River Thjorsa lava field, which
was created by fissure eruptions in the interior about 8000 years ago.
This lava field is considered the largest of its kind in the
world of the Holocene Period. The
nature reserve is dotted with small lakes and ponds in the depressions
of the lava field. Remainders of the irrigation project completed in the
twenties are still prominent in many places.
Its ditches were altogether 300 km (200 miles) long and the low
dikes about 540 km (327 miles). Close
to two hundred small bridges and dams were built across them.
At the time, this project was the biggest of its kind in Europe.
Shortly after the irrigation system was finished the farmers all
over the country started digging drainage ditches and a part of the
irrigation system was altered to serve as such.
routes between Eyrarbakki, Kaldadarnes and Selfoss cut through Nesbru
and Melabru in the eastern part of the nature reserve and in some places
the well trodden paths are still very obvious.
Old ruins at Oseyrarnes were declared inviolate.
A short distance to the west of the old Floagafl farms, are quite
a few peat quarries. They
are filled with clear and bluish coloured water and are the habitat of
various small creatures and a variety of plants.
They actually combine the history of bygone ways of life and an
interesting ecological system.
(Saga trail South Iceland)
and other bird species characteristic for the reserve and the
surrounding areas, especially during the breeding season (May, June)
are: Whooper swans, greylag geese, mallards, wigeons (Eurasian w.),
teals (green-winged t.), scaups (greater s.), tufted ducks and red
breasted mergansers. Nests
of shovelers, pintails and gadwalls have been spotted, but these species
are rather rare all over the country.
Eider ducks nest on the estuary islands and red-throated divers
(loons) are spotted near the lakes and ponds.
There are also a few colonies of black headed seagulls and arctic
terns, where many of the other prefer to nest for protection.
Only a few arctic skuas and herring gulls breed in the area. Among other common species are dunlins, whimbrels, black
tailed godwits, snipes, red-throated phalaropes and meadow pipits.
The golden plover prefers drier areas.
Nowhere else in the country is there greater density of dunlin
nests and the same applies to the black tailed godwits.
During migration in spring and autumn (fall), the grey lag and
white fronted geese (greater w.f.g.), wigeons and tufted ducks, several
waders and wheat-ears (northern w.e.) are most prominent.
seals (grey seals) are common in the estuaries during autumn (fall) and
winter. They are most
commonly spotted near the Kaldadarnes Islands, just off the nature
reserve. Minks are common
the whole year round. Sticklebacks,
char and eels occupy the lakes, ponds and ditches.
In the estuaries mostly sea char, sea trout and salmon are caught
seasonally. Among the small
creatures in and around the ponds and lakes are water beetles,
amphipods, bugs and black flies.
flora of the area is rich in species.
The marshlands are mostly covered with Lyngbye’s sedge and
drier areas with woolly willow, tea leaved willow, common (black) sedge
and common cotton grass. Around
most small lakes and ponds one can expect to find sedges, pondweed,
grasses etc. In the
proximity of the peat quarries is among other plants the hair-leaved
water-crowfoot. In drier
areas one can expect to find wild angelicas, Iceland rush,
cuckooflowers, red fescue, sea peas and many other species.
species of beautiful and rather rare flowers are commonly seen in the
nature reserve. Devil’s
bit scabious is found scattered about and also further east in the
Eyjafjoll and Myrdalur areas, especially in the green slopes facing
south. Chickweed, rather
common in the reserve, has only been found in wooded areas of the
eastern part of the country.
old routes cross the nature reserve.
One is a road heading north from the village Eyrarbakki, past the
farm Solvangur. Two parking
areas, on east and north of the Oseyri Bridge and at Stakkholt, offer
people the possibility to use the hiking path on the riverbanks.