M&M – Mykines and more

Tricky chiff

Rarities – no. Scarcities – yes. That would pretty much describe the first 20 days of august. The first wave of migrants have hit our shores and have departed again. About 20 willow warblers, 10 chiffchaffs, 2 wood warblers and 1 spotted flycatcher may not seem like a lot, but it is quite good numbers for the Faroes.

Gannet colony at Mykineshólmur

We’re in the process of designating the islands of Mykines, Nólsoy and Skúvoy as Ramsar-areas. I’m the representative of the faroese ornithological society during meetings. This week some Ramsar-people from Denmark and Iceland were here and two days ago we went to Mykines. It is the westernmost island of the archipelago and has contained good birds like needle-tailed swift, black and white warbler, red-rumped swallow and two subalpine warblers. But the island is massively underbirded as there to my knowledge only is one local who does a bit of birdwatching.

Common swift

The island has no trees or scrubbery, so warblers are most often found along the stream in tall grass in the village. But when we were there no warblers were seen and the only migrants of note were a common swift and some curlews. But the island is awesome non the less. It has the larges numbers of puffins on the Faroes even though no chicks made it this years eighter (7. year in a row). The same thing can be said about arctic skua, arctic tern and to some extent about the kittiwakes too even though we did see a handfull of juveniles.

A few puffins linger outsite their nest holes

Futhermore the island contains the sole gannet conoly of the Faroes and they’re doing fine. It is a spectacular view to see the gannets up close on Mykineshólmur. On Mykineshólmur some leach’s storm petrels, european storm-petrels and manx shearwaters also breed, but we didn’t see any this time. But all in all it was nice to be back on Mykines seeing all the puffins, gannets and kittiwakes once more.

Gannet colony


Snowy fulmar


Kittiwakes - a few pair managed to raise chicks

Tindhólmur in the evening - view from Bøur

Yesterday I checked Viðareiði, where I found a bar-tailed godwit, a ruff, the first autumn garden warbler and some willow warblers and chiffchaffs. So all in all the first 20 days of august have seen good numbers of birds and a few scarcities like bar-tailed godwit (considered a rarity that had to be submitted to the RC untill a few years ago), cuckoo (rarity till 2010), wood warbler (rarity till 2010) and spotted flycatcher. But nothing really rare has turned up just yet!

Bar-tailed godwit


6 comments on “M&M – Mykines and more

  1. Russ Haywood (Shetland) says:

    Hi Silas

    Are you sure your tricky chiff isn’t a Bonelli’s Warbler?


    • birdingfaroes says:

      Well, I can put a few more pics on the blog. Admittedly I have not experiance with eighter eastern or western bonelli’s warbler. But I would expect a such to be cleaner silky-white on the chest and belly. This one didn’t look purely white but had a greyish wash to it. Furthermore the primary projection seemed to fit a chiffchaff rather than a bonelli’s. The bird didn’t call at all.

      That said I did go back to the village of Bøur twice to see the bird as it really has a whole lot of colour to it on the tertials and the tail and the head seemed grey in contrast to a green back, which wouldn’t match a typical chiffchaff – but still it is the phyl with the most variation I think.


  2. Chatterbirds says:

    Mykineshólmur- what a dramatic looking island. Too bad it can’t be checked more often. I can only imagine the one day wonders and amazing rarities that drop onto that island.

  3. Hej Silas

    Jeg synes også den phyl ser noget giftige ud ved nærmere eftersyn. Har selv set op til flere bjergløvs i Slovenien samt Frankrig, jeg indrømmer dog gerne at den kunne virke endnu lysere på undersiden.

    Jeg har desværre ingen erfaring med bjergløvsanger i efteråret, håber blot du tjekker op på den.

    Mvh Nikolaj

  4. Hej Silas

    Jeg har selv tjekket op phyllen idag i fugle i felten og synes fuglen passer meget godt !!! med den lysetøjle til øjet og det lysenæb, som løvs ikke skal have i efteråret.

    Jeg tror på bjergløvsanger nu

    Mvh NIkolaj

  5. peter H. Kristensen says:

    Jeg vil også gerne se flere billeder – ud over det nævnte, har den jo også meget lyse ben for en grans og er grøn nogle ret mistænkelige steder.

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