On the 11th of February Rodmund found a putative adult Thayer’s Gull in Vestmanna. On the following day we went to look for it and after six hours of searching we relocated the bird. It showed very well along with 60 Iceland Gulls, 3 Kumlien’s Gulls and a few Glaucous Gulls.
I’m not an expert on Thayer’s vs Kumlien’s Gull and they’ve been lumped as variations of Iceland Gull. The bird is non the less very close to Thayer’s Gull when it comes to wing pattern. On the gull research org home page similar looking 4th winter Thayer’s Gulls can be seen:
Without making any bold claims this bird surely lies very much in the Thayer’s end of thing considering the Thayer’s – Kumlien’s – Iceland Gull continuum.
And nailed or not… seeing this bird was surely magnificent. A video of the bird can be seen here:
Other birds around during recent days include hundreds of Iceland Gulls, a Great Tit in Klaksvík, Steller’s Eider in Sumba (long-staying female seen by Rodmund today), male Merlin and a Common Merganser in Hvannasund.
Chaffinch rather than Chiffchaff 🙂
As the light is slowly but safely returning it is possible to use more hours in the field. This again means more birds seen. February really is a nice month as the daylight increases rapidly – maybe on of the best months of the entire year.
Two days ago I checked the plantation in Tórshavn. Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch and Water Rail were the best birds around.
In the harbours good numbers of white-wingers are still around including about 5 Kumlien’s Gulls.
Yesterday I found a female King Eider in Klaksvík. King Eiders are almost annual on the Faroes. I’ve seen 3 females and 2 males during the years. But both the males were seen 10 or more years ago – so a new male would surely be nice though yesterdays female was quite a beauty.
Today Rockmund and I checked Sandoy. Upon arrival in Skopun a few Glaucous and Iceland Gulls were around.
Greyish European Wigeon?
At Sandsvatn we found 3 Common Goldeneyes, 245 Greylags, 1 Eastern Greater White-fronted Goose, two Pink-footed Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose, about 150 European Wigeons, 1 American Wigeon (long-staying), Common Merganser, 8 Curlews, 20 Tufted Ducks and 4 Common Pochards.
The weather was awesome which made the birding delightful.
‘Today I found an Arctic Redpoll that surely smells like a ssp. hornemanni. It was really pale along the upper back, had long wings, was big like a Brambling and was joined by three Greenland Redpolls. If accepted it will be the second ssp. hornemanni for the Faroes.
The last few weeks haven’t offered much but lots of Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Great Northern Divers, Moorhens, Common Merganser, Slavonian Grebes, a minor Fieldfare-influx, one Jack Snipe and two Great Cormorants.
Water Rail in a Pine Tree
But as the days turn longer there is more time to search. The rarities must be out there!
During the last few days we’ve had awesome sunny weather. That yellow circle that the old people talked about turned out to be real. It was not just a fairy tale. I’ve seen it myself. And it seems to make pictures much better. The best birds during the last days include a few Fieldfares, Little Auk, 13 Iceland Gulls, Jack Snipe, 12 Slavonian Grebes and 7 Great Northern Divers.
Raven and rainbow
The yellow circle
Yesterday we had a storm giving us wind speed up to 38 m/s. This often equals gulls in the harbours afterwards. So today I checked Fuglafirði. I and wasn’t disappointed. 30+ Iceland Gulls were around.
Among the Iceland Gulls was a splendid very well-marked Kumlien’s Gull. Dark iris and mantle colour and extensive markings on the primaries made it look more like a Thayer’s than and Iceland Gull. But after all markings were not extensive and dark enough.
Most birds were 1. and 2. winter birds, but there were also a few older birds flying around.
Yesterday I checked the plantation in Tórshavn. The weather was awesome with low winter light. A long-staying juv. Moorhen, two Water Rails and two Chaffinches were the best birds around.
Today I checked different sites on Eysturoy. 22 Iceland Gulls were present in Fuglafirði. All ages were present and I had a good time in spite of quite windy conditions. As always the variation of the Iceland Gulls is impressing.
Adult Kumlien’s Gull and 3 w. pale Kumlien’s?
The highlight was an adult well-marked Kumlien’s Gull. It’s been a while since my last adult – and it’s still just January (and lots of wind is hitting us currently from western directions). Maybe there are many more to come?
Kumlien’s Gull and 3. w Kumlien’s?
A few more birds had some Kumlien’s traits. If only we could fit them with trackers or something. At least they keep puzzling me in a good way.
Second winter Iceland Gull
Winter means gulls. White-winged gulls. And finally they have arrived in numbers. Today I spent a few hours birding. A few hours because the day only lasts for a few hours. I checked different harbors in order to look at gulls. It was quite windy, which means that many gulls seek shelter and are easily observed.
There were scattered Iceland and Glaucous Gulls around, but in Fuglafirði there were about 30 Iceland Gulls around. This is the greatest congregation this winter to my knowledge.
Adult Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull and a Kumlien’s Gull-type
Most birds were first winter birds, but second and third winter birds and a few adults were also present.
Third winter pale Kumlien’s Gull?
At least three birds showed threats of ssp. kumlieni though non were really well-marked.
First winter Kumlien’s Gull
Third winter Kumlien’s Gull
Iceland Gull and Kumlien’s Gull
Second winter Iceland Gull
A dark Herring Gull-type resembled American Herring Gull, but weather it’s just an Icelandic Herring Gull (possibly with Glaucous Gull genes refered to as a smith-look-alike) or a true yank is hard to tell for sure. Admittedly the bird could have a more solid dark tail in order to be a classic smith.