2010 review – part two

OK, now the fun is about to start. Admittedly there are huge differences between countries. Denmark is rather good in spring. Enjoying the sunrise from the dunes of Skagen while thousands of bird pass you by – that is awesome –and that is Denmark. There’s nowhere on the Faroe Islands where you can see that kind of spring migration – and watching migrating birds flying by only works when watching the sea. You can see small numbers of pipits and stuff heading south from Akraberg – the southernmost tip of the Faroes, but it soon gets too boring for my taste. Anyways, this second episode of the 2010 review is committed to cover the months from July to December. And that includes autumn, which by far is my favourit time of year. If ideal wind-patterns occur anything can happen and even less ideal wind can give some really good birds. July – ok give me a break. Rare birds do not show up in July. Or at least not this year – for in 2009 I found a melodious warbler, but it had probably made landfall earlier. But July 2010 didn’t produce any rarities and the seabirds breeding season did not go well. So it is about time for those puffins to get some offspring if my grandchildren should have the chance to tick…

August started quiet, but on the 14th and 15th of August a marsh warbler was at Sydrugøtu and on the 19th a barred and two wood warblers were at Svínoy – and autumn was started! 6 barred warblers, turtle dove and a common rosefinch were seen in late august.

September saw a constant flow of birds. A very untypical weather system meant high pressure and blue skies from Russia all the way past Iceland for almost two weeks. On the map it looked very promising, but it didn’t produce the enormous amount of birds, which I’d expect. Søren Sørensen came up with the theory that many birds might fly by the Faroes due to the perfect migration conditions – and I think he’s right, for much worse weather later on gave many more birds. But the month was good. It started out with a very early Lapland bunting at Vidareidi – and it followed the pattern of early arrivals elsewhere in the NW-europe. Serveral birds were seen in September. The first megas were the first two curlew sandpipers for the Faroes –BELIEVE IT OR NOT – found by Rockmund and twitched by me the following day at Sørvági. But Rockmund had just begun. On the 12th he found the second European bee-eater for the Faroes at Hvalvík – an adult – and I connected with the bird shortly after the discovery. The common migrants kept coming during the month and a total of 21 barred warblers were seen (by two observers) and a few common rosefinches were also locked. On the 23rd I found two juvenile pectoral sandpipers and Vidareidi (3rd and 4th for the Faroes) and a little stint was at the exact same mud hole on the 29th where the first yellow-browed was seen near Klaksvík. The end of the month saw some good easterlies, so I went to Svínoy on the 30th where I found the second lesser grey shrike, a melodious warbler, a marsh warbler, a barred warbler and common rosefinch –I wonder what megas were at Fugleoy further east! And by the way a small locu was flushed from the same reeds as the pallas gropper was last year – but flushing such a skulker all alone was next to impossible and it remains a bird sp.

October is my favourite. Anything can happen. Yanks from over seas or sibes from – yeah sibiria… And this year didn’t disappoint. When birding the Faroes it is very hard to say: Come from this date to this date. Rather you should say: Stay as long as possible – and eventually you’ll bounce into some good easterlies. For even October can be quite dead if you’re having a storm coming in from northwest – NW can only be used for Iceland gulls and brünnichs guillimotts – and they come in low numbers anyway. But this October was good overall. There were no long periods on NWesterlies, so there were always birds to see. On the 3rd a untwitchable hoopoe was seen at Sandavágur and on th 6th Rockmund found a 2cy+ citrine wagtail at Sørvágur. It stayed for a few days, so I got it the following day. I also found a few yellow browed, a hawfinch and a barred warbler at the island of Vágar. But the best thing was flushing a Pechora pipit at Sandavági. I saw it really well, but for more than an hour it was gone and I didn’t have pics. But finally I relocated it in the fading light and got some pics. As far as I know it is the only record in 2010 from WP. Maybe the Faroe Islands are one of the best places to see the bird in wp then? Two accepted records – and two more not sufficiently documented and thus not accepted – in 2009 and now one in 2010 – that’s quite good given the skulky nature of the species never recorded in das Vaterland – Dänemark. Kennst du das Land mit seinem keinen Pfeifern?

The lesser grey shrike and the melodious warbler stayed for two weeks on Svínoy – but no one even attempted to twitch the birds. On the 12th Rockmund found an ad female ring-necked duck at Sørvágsvatn and I found a 1cy at Gróshúsvatn – so two different birds in on day is good. From the 14th to 17th I was guiding a tour for the Faroese ornithological society. I went a little ahead and found a little egret on the 14th and a red-flanked bluetail, a barred warbler and a little grebe on the 15th before the others came. On the 16th the red-flanked bluetail was successfully twitched by the tour members at the plantation at Trongisvági. We also managed to see an ad peregrine and a highly expected new to the Faroes – Buff-bellied pipit at Fámjin. They’ve been all over lately – one is even claimed in Denmark. The faroese bird was seen very well on a few meters distance – but even though it was a national first it is no match for a red-flanked blue or a Pechora. But still – being at the Faroe Islands and seeing red-flanked bluetail and buff-bellied pipit within 20 minutes – that is really awesome!

On the 17th it was raining, but I needed to go birding and found a juv. rose-coloured starling at Rockmunds island – Vágar. Later Rockmund refound it fouraging in the snow.  The end of the month gave some very cold weather from northwest and the only birds of note include the forever returning yankie black duck at Tórshavn found by Rockmund this time, a juvenile surf scoter at Trongisvági found by Turid Vestergaard on the 20th and on the 27th I found an arctic redpoll and the second lesser redpoll for the Faroes. The first for the Faroes was a bird I found in 2009 at Vidareidi, which was first rejected, but now is accepted as the first national record of the species.

November and December is time to relax. Well ok, the first week of November can give some real goodies, but not this time. Belated news includes a minor invasion of great tits at Tórshavn – seen by Jens-Kjeld Jensen and others, but never reported, so I’m stilling missing out on the one. And at last while I was in Tanzania I received some pics of a bird sp, which easily could be identified as the first ever blue tit for the Faroes – seen on desember the 6th in Tórshavn in a garden for 15 minutes… I was in Tórshavn on that date, so I have been a few kilometers away… But all in all 2010 was good. The criteria of finding two new to the Faroes was met, but I still haven’t found a new to the wp. But being the only one in wp ticking Pechora pipit in 2010 is also very nice – and I wonder if I ever again will have a wp-year-tick just to myself… But let us see what 2011 brings – are you coming to help birding the faroes?




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