I’m birding in the snow, but it’s not a glorious feeling. When I woke up this morning a thin carpet of snow covered the contry from the shores to the mountain tops. Not what I hoped for. And it could seem like the good autumn migration days have finally come to an end. It is freezing cold so I had to change the tires on the car. The winter is knocking on the door. And the forecast only contains notherly winds. So from now on the passerines will decline rapidly.
A whole day out only produced a few blackcaps and chiffchaffs, waxwing and slavonian grebes. It really feels winterish. Off course some obscure birds can still turn up but I am afraid that this was it for now. We’re heading from passerine time to duck and gull-time of year. The first iceland gulls may be on the door step but I’m afraid that the northerly winds effectively block some of the classic late migrants like blyth’s pipit, dusky warbler, desert weathear and izzy shrike. But I’m just happy that the NW-winds didn’t dominate the entire october and offered quite a lot of good birds during the autumn. The target species this autumn was to find lancey, but that didn’t work. I know that they’ve been seen untill mid november in Shetland, but to be honest there probably isn’t much hope to get more rare warblers this autumn.
But it is still duck and gull time. Today Rockmund found the returning american black duck in Tórshavn, which has been there for about 8 winters (and some summers) and a ring-necked duck remains at Sørvágsvatn. Maybe there’s an american coot hiding somewhere along the shore or in a small lake? And will the mouthwashing harlequin-ducks turn up this winter, too? There’s always hope but it looks like the rush of the autumn has come to an end. We’re probably soon back to the days when finding a waterrail or a jack snipe is as good as it gets. And the fact is the it is kind of a self fullfilling prophecy, ’cause lack of birds means less time out which means less chance to find anything…