Good or bad?

I’ve been back home on the Faroe Islands for about a week now. I must admit that mentally my binoculars and my birding expectations had already taken their summer vacation. But I had to check if the night heron, which was seen at Eiði in early may was still around. Well, it wasn’t but I found a singing common whitethroat – and that made me wonder what other good birds could be around.

I have been a few times to Viðareiði hoping to find a calandra lark, but willow warbler and chiffchaff were the best birds there – and knowing that july and february are the two worst months for rarities I didn’t expect much. Therefore it came as a surprise, when I opened my mail-box late friday night. Rockmund had found what looks like a 2cy male american white-winged scoter at Vestmanna. He didn’t think it was a deglandii at first, and thus I was not notified untill late in the night. Saturday I could have gone to Vestmanna for a few hours, but that would mean that I had to cancell some appointments. And to be frank I was quite sure it would linger – it shouldn’t move that much during molting season. So I waited untill this morning to go to Vestmanna. I came very early and searched for seven hours including the island of Vágar, but there was no trace of the bird – bummer. This could easily be the rarest bird on the Faroes in 2011 and I didn’t see because I was over-confident. The closest I got was to see two common scoters.

I still think it is somewhere around the isles, but there are just hundreds of kilometers to check. My mood was not good when I drove back to Klaksvík. But then I talked to a guy who knows quite a bit about birds. He had seen two crossbills with white wing-bars yesterday in Hvannasund. There is only one sighting from Norway this last week of two-barred xbill, but I drove the about 10 km to Hvannasund just to check. There were no crossbills, but when I checked the last garden a nice male subalpine warbler caught my eyes. I ran for the camera and managed to get some documentation. There is way to many leaves on the trees now… But a nice male, but I’m not sure about the subspecies. This is my fouth self-found subalpine warber on the Faroes in two years.

But a question remains. Is this a good day or a bad day? Well, it is somewhere in between. The subalpine male is much more exciting than a 2cy deglandii, but the deglandii it a true WP­-mega and a lifer for me…

Besides the two-barred crossbills there are a couple of rumours going on. A lady has seen a small brown dove at Viðareiði – probably a turtle dove. An icelandic birder has heard a possible quail at Viðareiði. A man told me that a ‘nightinggale’ had been singing in his garden – I wonder what that could be. So I guess that this july is a bit odd which lots of good birds around the islands.


4 comments on “Good or bad?

  1. Rodmund says:

    Dear Silas.

    You wrote : This is my fourth self found subalpine warbler on the Faroes in two years ;

    I know that this is not quiet so, and so do you.

    But keep up the good work.


    • birdingfaroes says:

      Dear Rodmund!

      Thanks for your comments. But which observation do you incline that I didn’t see or find myself? The bird at Svínoy in 2009, Hvannasund in 2011 or one of the two at Trongisvágur in 2011? As there is hardly any doubt about the first two I presume that you are thinking about the last two birds. As I remember you and Janus walked outsite the garden above the plantation while I was inside the garden, where we couldn’t even see each other. While walking inside the garden I saw a subalpine warbler and shouted it to you. The pretty much means that it is a self found bird even though you might have seen it before me without letting me know, right?

      Keep up the good work.


      • birdingfaroes says:

        I don’t really care so much about who saw it first. The two interesting things are that subalpine warblers seem to be regular visitors to the Faroes with 4 birds seen in 2009 and two in 2011. The other interesting thing is that the male from Trongisvágur had a trilling call matching ssp. moltonii. The occurance furthermore came at the same time as two ssp. moltonii in Shertland the same spring. Furthermore the bird from Hvannasund had a very different call. Most often it gav a single ‘tek’ or a few in a row – where each tek was clearly separable from the next -much like a lesser whitethroat.

        All the best,


  2. Chatterbirds says:

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t get the Scoter but a Subalpine Warbler is pretty impressive! Maybe the sea duck is still around? Please keep us posted!

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