White-winged Gulls

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

 

Finally white-winged gulls have arrived in small numbers (earlier there were only single birds here and there). A little gulling during the week revealed about 10 Iceland Gulls including a pale Kumlien’s Gull and 7 Glaucous Gulls.

Pale Kumlien's Gull

Pale Kumlien’s Gull

Ducks have also arrived after the lakes became ice-free. In Eiði a Common Pochard had joined about 20 Tufted Ducks.

Common Pochard

Common Pochard

Rodmund also found an albifrons Greater White-fronted Goose at Sørvágur.

Silas

Gulls and stuff

 

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

During the last few days the weather has been awesome – freezing cold and sunny. So I’ve been out a little. In Klaksvík a Grey Wagtail was present a few days ago.

Today I went to Tórshavn and on the way there I checked some gulls and stumbled upon an interesting bird. It was heavier build than the surrounding Herring Gulls and the primary tips had a grey instead of black.

Jizz compared to Herring Gull

Jizz compared to Herring Gull

The iris seemed rather dark and it was a 4th winter bird. The bill was much like a Herring Gull. The head and chest had dark streaks.

Gull...

Gull…

But the primary pattern didn’t look like anything I’ve seen before – or you could call it a grey version of a Herring Gull.

Wing pattern

Wing pattern

 

Wing pattern

Wing pattern

So it must be yet another Viking Gull (Glaucous x Herring Gull).

With Iceland Gull

With Iceland Gull

I also briefly checked the plantation in Tórshavn were the Oriental Turtle Dove was still present and looking fit for fight.

Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove

 

Robin in the snow

Robin in the snow

Silas

Same as in Shetland

Yesterday I made the claim that the yesterdays Oriental Turtle Dove was different to the Shetland bird. This was based on comparison of different photos, where the Shetland bird appeared much more worn and dull.

Hugh Harrop contacted me this morning. He has been comparing the pictures more thoroughly and reached the conclusion that the bird on the Faroes is in deed the Shetland bird.

Comparison of the Shetland and Faroese Oriental Turtle Dove made by Hugh Harrop

Comparison of the Shetland and Faroese Oriental Turtle Dove made by Hugh Harrop

The pictures I used for comparison showed a soaking wet bird, which made the bird appear very differently than when it was dry like yesterday.

Thanks to Hugh for adding this new angle to the story.

Silas

Oriental Turtle Dove

Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull

 

Today I went to pick up a car in Tórshavn. On the way there I checked some areas and saw some ten Great Northern Divers, Little Auks and Slavonian Grebes. A few Iceland Gulls were also seen.

Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove

In Tórshavn I checked the plantation and soon I located an Turtle Dove-type. Yoav Perlman soon confirmed that it was an Oriental Turtle Dove as suspected. It was found at exactly the same place where the first national record was made in 2006. Thus this is the second for the islands and a new self-found species for me. Now a total of 93% of the species on my Faroese list are self-found. Now I badly need to find a Common Crane on my own…

Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove

 

Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove

The edge of the tail was white, so it looks like a ssp. Meena, just like the first record.

Oriental Turtle Dove - ssp. meena

Oriental Turtle Dove – ssp. meena

 

Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove

I discussed whether it could be the same bird as the one in Shetland with Steve Minton, who saw the Shetland bird. But the Shetland bird was much more worn, so it has to be a different bird.

Nólsoy

Nólsoy

Silas

Hooded Merganser

 

Little Auk

Little Auk

On the 28th December visiting Danish birder Ragnar Smith found the first ever Hooded Merganser at Vágur. Janus and I were ready to twitch it right away, but the ferry to Suðuroy was cancelled due to a mild breeze reaching 36 m/s.

My sister in law was getting married on the 30th and after that the new years celebrations were taking place. So I had to put up with some Iceland and Glaucous Gulls and 4 Little Auks seen from the kitchen window before I could go for the visiting yank.

Fear was that firework could have scared it away, but I headed off anyways yesterday. On the way from Hvannasund to Tórshavn a Sparrowhawk was seen at Hvalvík.

It was dark when Janus and I arrived and an attempt to see the bird using the cars lights didn’t prove successful. So we ordered some pizza and stayed in a flat in Vágur.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

At 10:00 it was finally bright enough to look for the bird. Actually the flat was only a few hundred meters from the lake where the Hooded Merganser had been seen.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

A look from the flat door revealed a small duck-type diving actively on the lake. We jumped into the car and drove to the lake and YES! It was the Hooded Merganser. It gave good views but it was still very dark, so we decided to get some breakfast and then go back later to obtain better views and pictures.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

 

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

 

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

So we did and we managed to get good views and decent pictures in spite of the dark weather.

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck

Then we went north and checked the entire island. Highlights included 4 Long-tailed Ducks, 3 Little Auks, a handful of Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, 4 Slavonian Grebes, an Oystercatcher, some Purple Sandpipers, some Teals, Tufted Ducks and some Whooper Swans.

Slavonian Grebes and a Little Auk

Slavonian Grebes and a Little Auk

All in all a successful
twitch.

Silas

 

Final countdown

American Wigeon?

American Wigeon?

Today I went to do some birding counting around Norðskála. They plan to plant a lot of trees in the area, so they wanted to know which birds were around.

American Wigeon ?

American Wigeon ?

By chance the first bird I saw was the putative American Wigeon, which is still around in the area.

Other good birds included Reed Warbler, 2 Slavonian Grebes and 12 Curlews.

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

I also checked Hvalvík. There were a few Yellow-browed Warblers around, but suddenly I heard a call resembling Hume’s Leaf Warbler and soon after I located a tricky plain phyl. I tried to play back Hume’s Leaf Warbler and it responded right away – but it never gave good views and disappeared in the plantation.

Hume's Leaf Warbler or?

Hume’s Leaf Warbler or?

Hume's Leaf Warbler or?

Hume’s Leaf Warbler or?

The bird was pale with the wing bars looking pure white, the feet were dark but not totally black. The bill was kinda orange underneath. It is just a pale Yellow-browed or could it be a Hume’s?

While searching for it a yellow-rumped Yellow-browed Warbler appeared. It didn’t show any crown stripe and both legs and bill appeared orange – so I guess it is just a weird Yellow-browed rather than a Pallas’ Warbler. Quite a funny fellow.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

 

Appearence just before take-off

Appearence just before take-off

It started to rain and get windy so I had to give up. So I gave Eiði a try. Best birds there were 5 Goldfinches and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Tomorrow is my last full day on the Faroes before heading back to Turkey. But as the weather looks now with storm and rain I guess this was it for now.

Silas

Suðuroy birding

 

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Today I went birding with Harri and Markus on Suðuroy – visiting birders from Finland.

First we checked Sumba, where they already had located the 3rd Steller’s Eider for the Faroes and we found it easily close to the shore.

Steller's Eider

Steller’s Eider

 

Steller's Eider

Steller’s Eider

Then we checked the gardens, where good numbers of Blackcaps were present. We also found Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat and  Goldfinch.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Then we checked futher north on the island and a total of 56 species were seen including 18 Yellow-browed Warblers, Barred Warbler, Common Rosefinch and 3 Goldfinches.

Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

Silas