Arctic Fox at Modrudalur (Northern Iceland)

Brief post with site info on habituated Arctic Fox at Modrudalur in Northern Iceland. I have not seen Modrudalur mentioned in other mammal-watching posts; it is only 7 km off the ring-road. They were seen on a 3300 km trip around Iceland in August 2020; my 4 whale-watching trips were OK; the fox at Modrudalur were the highlight. Triplist and route map here.  Thanks to Jon Hall for info on the Heydalur site and Sjef Ollers for other tips.
Paul Carter


  1. Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) @ Heydalur and Modrudalur.
  2. Harbour Seal (Phocoena sinus) @ Ytri Tunga, Illugastadir and Jokulsarlon.
  3. Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) @ Ytri Tunga and Illugastadir.
  4. Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) @ Hrafnavellir.
  5. Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) @ Olafsvik, Hauganes and Husavik.
  6. Common Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) @ Olafsvik.
  7. White-beaked Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) @ Olafsvik, Hauganes, Husavik and Borgafjordur.
  8. Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) @ Hauganes and Husavik.


  • Vladimir Dinets

    So you didn’t see any mammals on WW trip from Reykjavik? I thought wb dolphins were pretty much guaranteed there? And how did you see dolphins at Borgafjordur?

    • Paul Carter

      Hi Vladimir; error !! Thanks. I left the Reykjavik ones off the list. They were WB Dolphin and Minke. P

      • Miles Foster

        My wife is half-Icelandic and we are regular visitors to the country. Reykjavik was never really considered a serious w-w destination among Icelanders themselves. In fact, some years ago Ingrid and I took a whale-watching tour out of Reykjavík and saw absolutely nothing. But they did give us a cup of coffee – the most expensive, and uncomfortable, cup of coffee I’ve had in my life. However, a friend who is in Iceland at the moment did a tour with Sea Trips Rekjavik and ‘Saw a couple of humpbacks, a minke and some dolphins’, presumably white-beaked. So you never know. Meanwhile, I gather the whales at Steingrímsfjörður, who are normally reliable, have been rather hit and miss this year.

        Still, it is good to know that Zora and / or her descendants can still be seen at Heydalur and I will definitely be heading for Modrudalur next time I am in Iceland. Thanks for the tip!

  • John Fox

    Man, that B&W shot is just something else! Can I ask if that is out of the camera or in post?

    Thx, John

    • Paul Carter

      Hi John: all my pics are shot (currently Nikon z7) in raw and processed in Lightroom; that first BW is cropped to 5000×37000 pixels. That site is so good that you can sit there for 2 hours as the fox roam around. They will come to within a meter or two of you.

  • Miles Foster

    Aha, so that’s confirmed. Minke and wb dolphins viewable from Reykjavik. Good! And I’ve just heard that the elusive Steingrímsfjörður whales have turned up further out in the bay. So all’s well with Iceland’s whale-watching.

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