Weekend in Suðuroy

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Three days of birding on Suðuroy with the Faroese Birding Society has come to an end. A total of 64 species were seen. It might not sound as much but it is quite good up here.

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck

The island was not loaded with birds though. These were the most numberous migrants: c. 100 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, 15 Robins and 50 Bramblings.

Redstart

Redstart

Redstart

Redstart

Scarce birds include Sooty Shearwater, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebes, Shoveler, Jack Snipe, Redstart, Whinchat, Song Thrush, several Sibirean Chiffchaffs, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers and 4 Long-tailed Ducks.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Siberian Chiffchaff

We also managed to find 4 rarities, that need to be submitted to the Danish RC.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

The first rarity was a Black Redstart at Lopra. This is the 11th record for the Faroes.

Black Redstart

Black Redstart

Black Redstart

Black Redstart

In Porkeri a Great Tit was present even though it was quite elusive. This is the 5th record for the Faroes.

Great Tit

Great Tit

Great Tit

Great Tit

In Vágur we saw two Yellow Wagtails. One of them looked like a ssp. flava. If accepted as a flava it will only the third since 1950.

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

The last rarity was an Arctic Redpoll in Sandvík. Unfortunately it evaporated from the surface of the earth and could not be refound after the initial sightings. So photo documentation could be much better. But it did show a large white patch on a rump. But nailing it to subspecies level might be impossible.

Arctic Redpoll

Arctic Redpoll

Arctic Redpoll

Arctic Redpoll

Arctic Redpoll  - a glimpse of the rump

Arctic Redpoll – a glimpse of the rump

The weather was ok. A little rainy at times, but very very warm. A stunning 14 C yesterday… Thanks to the participants for a great weekend. It isn’t exactly WP mouth watering rarities that we found. Probably most of you wouldn’t even lift your bins for the birds seen – but from a local perspective it was actually “local awesomeness”… And aren’t we all in fact locals?

Janus, Willy and I - wearing Faroese birding clothes

Janus, Willy and I – wearing Faroese birding clothes

Silas

Update!

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

Due to the flu and lack of time I haven’t been good at updating the last few days.

Most exciting news are a Common Treecreeper found by Turid Vestergaard at Trongisvágur a few days ago. The 2nd for the Faroes.

Sibirean Chiffchaff

Sibirean Chiffchaff

Otherwise there have been good numbers of migrants around. 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs have been around the Northern Islands.

Lesser Redpoll type

Lesser Redpoll type

The first Waxwings have come and are joined by hundreds of Bramblings and Redpolls including a Lesser Redpoll type.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

A few scattered Yellow-browed Warblers are still around.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

A Peregrine that was found exhausted on a fishing vessel is still being kept in a voliere. Quite a sad destiny for such a majestic bird.

Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

In Tórshavn I found a juv. Turtle Dove today.

Redpoll

Redpoll

A pale Redpoll was at Velbastaður, but maybe not pale enough for a proper Arctic Redpoll?

Redpoll

Redpoll

Right now I am on a tour with the birding society to Suðuroy. The weather is bad with rain and gale force winds.

Shoveler

Shoveler

From the ferry we saw a Sooty Shearwater. The only other good birds was a Shoveler at Hvalba.

Silas

Pallas’ Leaf Warbler

Eastern looking Lesser Whitethroat

Eastern looking Lesser Whitethroat

Today I went to a reception, because a new book has been published about Faroese ringing and re coverings.

On the way to Tórshavn I stopped at Hvalvík. The plantation was full of life. Goldcrests everywhere. Several Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs,  Redwings and Song Thrushes.

Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher

3 Yellow-browed Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher were also good birds, but a Arctic Redpoll was the best – though I didn’t manage to photograph it.

Yellow-browed Warbler - a rather pale individual

Yellow-browed Warbler – a rather pale individual

After the reception I decided to check Kirkjubø. And the same was true there. Birds everywhere. Lots and lots of Goldcrests, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, a Willow Warbler, some Chiffchaffs and a Redstart.

Pallas' Leaf Warbler

Pallas’ Leaf Warbler

But the star bird was a splendid Pallas’ Leaf Warbler. This is my second record and the 4th for the Faroes. The two first records were birds found dead.

Pallas' Leaf Warbler

Pallas’ Leaf Warbler

Pallas' Leaf Warbler

Pallas’ Leaf Warbler

Tomorrow I am going to Svínoy… I can only imagine…

Silas

Goldcrests

Goldcrest

Goldcrest

Easterly winds have been dominating for a few days now. This equals the arrival of birds. I used about one hour birding yesterday  and found 50+ Goldcrests, 1 Marsh Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Reed Bunting, Siskin, Wood Dove, some Blackcaps, about 40 Bramblings, 2 Barn Swallows and Common Sandpiper.

Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

Obviously many migrants had arrived.

So I has quite excited to go to Svínoy this morning especially after receiving news from Mike P. about extreme rarities on Unst – Firecrest and Treecreeper.

But the evening and night had been clear and cold, so maybe most birds had already departed?

Goldcrest

Goldcrest

As soon as I arrived to Svínoy Goldcrests greeted me. During the day they kept coming and the total number was more than 100 birds (but no Firecrests like on Unst).

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

Marsh Warbler missing much of its tail

Marsh Warbler missing much of its tail

But there was a problem. The forecast promised occasional showers. Well, there only was one, but it lasted for 7 hours. And it was windy at that. Actually birding was kinda hard. So I ended up using a lot of time drinking PG Tips tea and coffee and eating Viscount Biscuits with Òli – a local resident.

Tea with Óli

Tea with Óli

But I did defy the elements a few times. And there were birds around! 3 Reed Warblers is a personal record for me.

23 Bramblings, several Blackcaps, Robins, Chiffchaffs, Barn Swallows, 100+ Goldcrests, White Wagtails, 2 Teal, 1 Wigeon and 1 Dunnock, 1 Song Thrush, many Redwings…

Song Thrush

Song Thrush

How is it possible to find so many vagrants without finding a single Thick-billed Warbler or other rarity? It has to be there with so many birds around. Maybe another day…

Seal cup

Silas

 

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Yesterday I worked on our house from 9:00 til 2:00 AM. But I took the 5 min drive to Viðareiði around noon just to see if there was anything.

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Almost right away I found a Pectoral Sandpiper. The 5th record for the Faroes and the 4th bird that I have found. 3 of them at Viðareiði.

When looking at the forecast it will turn crazy. 3-4 days of strong southeasterly winds… Now is the time to bird the Faroes! A little more manpower would be awesome… let’s find a wp first.

Silas

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck

Rodmund called me yesterday. A possible adult female or juv. Ring-necked Duck was present at Mjáuvøtn.

Today I passed by as I where heading for Tórshavn. So I used 5 minutes and soon located a 1 cy Ring-necked with two Tufted Ducks.

Rodmund also found a likely female American Wigeon in Miðvágur yesterday. There should be some really cool yanks out there.

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck

Right now it is raining cats and dogs. Wind speed has reached 41 m/s, so frankly it is not weather for birding. But the forecast looks extremely good in a week or so. Strong and continuous southeasterly winds. If you consider coming to the Faroes now is the time.

Yesterdays Reed Warbler

Yesterdays Reed Warbler

Silas

Lancey

The grass fields on Svínoy

The grass fields on Svínoy

Today I did something I actually hate to do. It has been very windy for more than a week with heavy showers, hail and wind speed beyond 30 m/s.

Today was finally fine and bright, but a little windy. So I decided to go to Svínoy. I was unable to use the whole day there due to other appointments, but if I got off when the ferry heads for Fugloy I could get about an hour on the island.

I hate to do this  ’cause there simple isn’t time to check anything properly. But I really wanted to go. And so I did.

I came to Svinoy and there were good numbers of birds in the gardens including my first Reed Warbler of the year.

Then I went to the east of the village where there are a few square kilometers of tall grass. That is the place where I first found the Little Bunting a few weeks ago and the Pallas’ Gropper a few years ago.

Right upon arrival I saw a small bird moving on the edge of the grass. It soon “walked” a little further in, but I could obtain accidental views from only 4 meters distance.

Most obvious was the size – like a wren but shape like a locustella.  The back had black stripes like a Meadow Pipit. It had stripes on the breast and flanks. The breast was also brighter than the flanks.

The tertials were plain black with even pale edges and the tail was short.

Common Grashopper Warbler could easily be eliminated by tail length, tertial colours and back and breast stripes. Pallas’ was eliminated by the lack of “Sedge Warbler face”(eyestripe) and lack of rusty-red colours.

The first Lanceolated Warbler for the Faroe Islands was right in front of me. I tried to get some photos, but I only managed to photograph grass. I didn’t have time to wait it out, so I flushed the bird easily the first time, but it just flew 5 meters and dived into the one meter tall grass. Photographing it was impossible.

I managed to flush it a second time when I almost stepped on it, but it just flew a little further away across the road into another field.

When I found the Pallas’ Gropper I was birding with a danish birder, Jan. That meant that we could cover much more ground and keep track of the bird more easily (and Pallas’ calls eagerly but Lancey normally doesn’t say anything to my knowledge). If only there was someone with me today…

I lost the bird and could not relocate it. Anyways, it was imperative for me to catch the ferry. So I didn’t get photos of the little skulker.

Claiming a national first without pictures… well, that is like finding a Slender-billed Curlew in the UK. Not matter what it is just not supposed to happen. It is not acceptable. But I might send a description anyways…

Pallas' Gropper at the same place 5 years ago - 5th October 2009.

Pallas’ Gropper at the same place 5 years ago – 5th October 2009.

Silas