Lóan er komin! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iceland Review   
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 13:00

You might find it hard to believe but I think that the two news stories that Icelanders await with the most anticipation, every year there are news stories that involve animals; a bird and sheep.

Yes, the annual spring news of when the Golden Plover has been spotted somewhere in Iceland; and when the first lamb is born.

True story.

This news is always at least read on the radio news and sometimes makes it to the TV news as well.

This year, both pieces of news broke on the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service on the same day. On a gloomy, wet and cold Monday, when people were mumbling about how March is the most disappointing month of them all because one day it promises spring and then it crushes your hopes with frost and snow or sleet and incredibly forceful gale.

First, there was the story of a ewe in the North of Iceland who had jump started the lambing season, by having no less than three lambs last Saturday. All big and healthy - two little ewes and a ram. And this news item was read on the 10 o’clock morning news.

Because Icelanders are still so connected with their agricultural society origins that we rejoice at the thought of lambs being born.
I remember it was big news at my farm when I was little. Every spring, when my dad would come in from the sheepcote and announce the first lamb had arrived, a wave of cheers and joy filled the house.

Eagerly we’d ask whether it was a lamb king or a lamb queen, or both, and then we’d hurry out to have a look. It didn’t matter that there would be hundreds of lambs born over the next couple of months and we’d be exhausted from tending to them, checking on them many times a night and helping those in trouble. The first lamb was always special, and still is.

It’s one of the clearest signs that spring is arriving; it means the circle of life is on its course; it means that the farming is productive and it gives us the hope that we’ll be all-right for next winter.

Later that same day, on the six o’clock news in the evening, one of the news stories was about a single Golden Plover having been spotted by a farm in the West of Iceland. And to prove it, the farmer had called the local news reporter to have him catch the bird on camera. Who of course obliged, as it is rare that the bird arrives in Iceland so early, by March 19th.


The Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria). Photo: Vísindavefur.hi.is.
The Golden Plover is a migratory bird in Iceland, one of the first to arrive after spending the winter in warmer places. But always returning back to us to nest and enjoy the bright summers in Iceland. And its song is the most beautiful sound you can ever hear, at the end of the gloomy winter months. Poets have made this bird the most loved and adored ones in Iceland; it is called the sweet bearer of spring and we even have songs about it.

There are records of the bird being spotted by March 20th in 1998 and 2005 but this was a new record. And people shared the story on Facebook and Twitter like there was no tomorrow. Other websites picked up the story and everybody made the same declaration: “Lóan er komin!” (e. The Golden Plover is here!).

Perhaps only an Icelander can fully comprehend what this little statement means to us. It is the definite sign of spring being just around the corner.

Ingibjörg Rósa Björnsdóttir - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 16:11

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