Eastern Stonechat?

Eastern Stonechat?

              Eastern Stonechat?

On the 3rd of September I was birding in Vestmanna. The place was loaded with birds – Wryneck, Wood Warbler, Willow Warblers etc.

Between 18:24:19 and 18:24:20 I photographed a Saxicola. I didn’t see it with my bins, but got 5 identical pictures of it before it flew off. I searched for it for 5 minutes, but it was gone. And there were three reasons why I didn’t pursue it:

1) In the pouring rain it didn’t strike me as anything else but a Whinchat.

2) The thought of it being an Eastern type Stonechat didn’t even strike my as it was only early September (would’t it be like claiming Yellow-browed in August?). Then I found out that the only Faroese record is of a female on the 9th of September 1946… hmm…

3) In the garden I had earlier caught glimpses of a pale acro with a strong eyebrow. I saw it twice, but didn’t nail it before it got dark. So I didn’t use too much time chasing the Whinchat…

Eastern Stonechat?

                Eastern Stonechat?           

After having looked at the picture again of the Saxicola it really looks like an Eastern Stonechat… Comments are welcome.

Silas

Red-backed Shrike and more

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

It has been raining and quite windy during the last few days, but now the weather is awesome again. Yesterday we reached a stunning 15 C. But the nights have become cold – down to 5 C. This means that many birds have departed.

Only a few lingering migrants were present yesterday. But it is almost calm, and that means that some new birds will arrive. Most likely it will be the more determined migrants like Barred and Garden Warblers.

Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler

The Marsh Warbler is still present in Kunoy and gave amazing views the other day.

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

In Hvannasund a Red-backed Shrike has been outside my window for a few days now.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

In Viðareiði a Barred and 3 Garden Warblers were present yesterday along with a Grey Wagtail.

Lesser Redpoll a3

Lesser Redpoll type

Lesser Redpoll a2

Lesser Redpoll type

Lesser Redpoll type

Lesser Redpoll type

In Kunoy a possible Lesser Redpoll was present a few days ago.

 

The forecast looks reasonable. Not strong south-easterly winds, but almost calm. So there will be some birds around during the next week – but not huge arrivals I guess. But anything is better than freezing northerly winds. Hopefully a good surprise will turn up soon. And hopefully the first Yellow-browed is soon to arrive :)

Silas

Marsh and stuff

Autumn colours

Autumn colours

There are still lots of migrants around. Every proper garden contains a few or several warblers these days.

Garden Warbler

Garden Warbler

The most dominant species are by far Willow Warbler followed by Garden Warbler. They are present in all the major gardens I’ve checked on the Northern Isles.

Whinchat

Whinchat

During the last few days I’ve seen more than 40 Willow Warblers, 17 Garden Warblers and a few Blacksaps, Chiffchaffs and a single Whinchat and Barred Warbler.

Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel

A few scarcities have also been around. A Common Kestrel, two Collared Doves and a Grey Wagtail were present at Viðareiði today.

Wryneck

Wryneck

Yesterday a Wood Warbler and a Wryneck were present at Vestmanna.

Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler

But the highlight (at least when in comes to rarities) was the 9th Faroese record of Marsh Warbler at Kunoy a few days ago.

Black Swan

Black Swan

Oh yeah… a Black Swan has been present at Mjáuvøtn for a while too.

Overall a very exciting week. And when you take into account that I have only been birding for a few hours in total and only checked rather few locations the total number of birds on the islands must be rather impressive. And I’m sure some good birds have been out there. Hopefully something really good like a Paddy, Arctic, Greenish, Bonelli’s, Lancy or something like that will turn up soon.

Silas

 

Back home!

Teaser...

Teaser…

I returned from Turkey to the Faroe Islands a few days ago and I will spend the autumn here. Last year my wife and I bought an old house in the village of Hvannasund. It needs some attention before it can deserve to be called a proper home, so I am probable gonna swing a hammer more than my bins this autumn.

But during the last two days I was reminded why nothing beats birding on the Faroe Islands in autumn.

Rose-coloured Starling

Rose-coloured Starling

Yesterday I ordered some timber, which was dumped in front of our house. When I went to pick it up a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was sitting on the timber. If flew off to my neighbours roof. Only my third ever on the Faroe Islands. And it was still flying around the house today.

Our house  is the white one- can you spot where where the Rose-coloured Starling was sitting?

Our house is the white one- can you spot where where the Rose-coloured Starling was sitting?

Rose-coloured Starling

Rose-coloured Starling

The last few days have offered southeasterly winds. And after yesterdays Rose-coloured Starling I took two hours off and went to Àrnafirði 5 minutes drive away. And again I was reminded just why birding of the Faroes is awesome.

Common Rosefinches

Common Rosefinches

First Willow Warbler, then Common Rosefinch, then Barred Warbler, then Garden Warbler, then Blackcap, then Wryneck, then another Wryneck, then another Common Rosefinch…

Wryneck

Wryneck

Wow, massive arrivals in a Faroese  perspective. And remember that this is one small village that is not a hot spot as such. I wonder what Svínoy contains…

Wryneck

Wryneck

The day’s total numbers were Rose-coloured Starling 1, Wryneck 2, Common Rosefinch 3, Willow Warbler 5, Barred Warbler 1, Garden Warbler 2, Blackcap 1 along with the common stuff.

Common Rosefinch

Common Rosefinch

Autumn has come. Now I will only settle for a national first :)

Silas

Glossy Ibises

 

Glossy Ibis at Tvøroyri - photo by Turið Vestergaard í Dali

Glossy Ibis at Tvøroyri – photo by Turið Vestergaard í Dali

Well, the year had barely started before the first big birding surprise unfolded on the Faroe Islands. Earlier today a few “black” Whimbrels were reported in Tvøroyri, Suðuroy. Turid Vestergaard í Dali went to look for them in order to get some photos and find out what it actually was. She managed to locale some of the birds – which turned out to be Glossy Ibises. Only the third record for the Faroes.

People have seen at least 5 birds together and they might have been around since christmas. They might have been seen in the village of Hvalba a bit further north on Suðuroy too.

Glossy Ibis at Tvøroyri - photo by Turið Vestergaard í Dali

Glossy Ibis at Tvøroyri – photo by Turið Vestergaard í Dali

So where do the birds come from? There have been severe westerly storms recently, so the birds might have a North American origin. Yann Kolbeinsson pointed out that North America has been hit by severe cold weather lately, which might have forced birds to migrate eastwards.

Mike Pennington photographed a single bird on Unst, Shetland, today. So there could be several Glossy Ibises out there.

I am in Turkey, so I’m not trying to twitch the birds (and that also explains the lack of activity on this blog). If you wish to follow my birding in Turkey go to www.birdingturkey.wordpress.com

Silas

Lots of birds – finally!

Blackcap invasion

Blackcap invasion

It has been quite an interesting week so far. Last Sunday I visited Nólsoy. There I found a stunning Arctic Redpoll. It was very tame and gave views down to 3 meters. Lately my camera has acted weird. The display doesn’t work and it doesn’t really behave as it should– so after shooting lots of photos I came home just to learn that the memory card was empty… Edward Rickson – the icelandic scotsman helped me afterwards by saying on facebook: What a thing to happen when faced with the world’s most beautiful passerine!” Thanks, Ed!

More Blackcaps...

More Blackcaps…

Very strong easterly winds have been dominating during the week. It has led to the biggest arrival of passerines so far this autumn. Two days ago I found 15 Blackcaps in a single garden and in the small village of Kunoy I found 29 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs (northern), 4 Bramblings and 5 Goldcrests. Quite impressing for that small village.

Tree Sparrow and Chaffinch

Tree Sparrow and Chaffinch

I’ve also visited Svínoy, but only for 40 minutes. There were more Bramblings, Chaffinches, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs – and 9 Tree Sparrows.

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

At Viðareiði there were even more Blackcaps, Blackcaps and Blackcaps – and a Short-eared Owl flew over as it was chased by corvids.

Waxwing

Waxwing

Hvannasund has also contained some good birds during the last days including this years first Waxwing and a beautiful male Bullfinch – and many Blackcaps.

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill

Today I checked Klaksvík. Hopes were high after Mike (the grand wizard of Unst) found a sycamore-dwelling Cape May Warbler just a few hundred kilometers south-east of the Faroes. Icelanders have also come up with two Parrot Crossbills and a Hoopoe. So I went to check the plantation Grøv in Klaksvík today. In nice sunshine I first heard a call similar to Parrot Crossbill, but could only find a Common Crossbill (and I only saw it for a few seconds). The plantation only has a few walking pads and finding birds is quite hard. But I couldn’t find any Parrots and Klaus Malling Olsen (world class birder) sent me a message this evening that Common Crossbills actually can utter similar calls every now and then.

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

Lesser Redpoll-type

Lesser Redpoll-type

Lesser Redpoll-type

Lesser Redpoll-type

Besides the Common Crossbill I found a female Bullfinch, Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Mealy Redpoll and a Lesser Redpoll-type in the plantation.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

I also checked Àrnafirði briefly today and found a Grey Wagtail along with an interesting Lesser Whitethroat looking very eastern.

"Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat

“Eastern” Lesser Whitethroat

So to summon it all up: Lots of birds, several scarcities, a few rarities and no megas.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Silas Olofson

Birding the Faroese way

Eastern Chiffchaff

Eastern Chiffchaff

During the weekend I went birding with a group from the Faroese Ornithological Society. Birding conditions were far from ideal due to strong easterly winds. But we did try our best to get something out of the situation.

Rockmund (left), Janus (middle) and I (right) showing Faroese birding fashion.

Rockmund (left), Janus (middle) and I (right) showing Faroese birding fashion. 

(photo: William Simonsen)And we did manage to find some birds. A few of the more scarce species included 4 Great Northern Divers, Gadwall, 2 Wood Pigeons, 11 Blackcaps, 5 Northern Chiffchaffs, 4 Eastern Chiffchaffs, Greater Scaup, Iceland Gull, a late Lesser Black-backed Gull, some Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneye, 2 Bramblings, Fieldfare and some Redwings.

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

But the best bird was a Hawfinch, that gave brief views in Fámjin. Always a charming bird to see.

Brambling and autumn colours

Brambling and autumn colours

Saturday night we went to see Aksal Poulsens bird collection in Sumba that includes the only Sandhill Crane ever recorded on the Faroes – a bird that flew into a wire and later died.

Sandhill Crane (photo: William Simonsen)

Sandhill Crane (photo: William Simonsen)

All in all in was a very good weekend with excellent compay even though the weather and the birding could have been better.

Silas Olofson