We promised Mads not to find any rarities yesterday. That promise was valid for a day, so today we were free to find new rarities – and we did! We went straight to Viðareiði this morning. It is the northernmost village on the Faroes and is quite a nice place to go birding.
We split up and started birding. Soon Søren found a reed warbler and I found a lapland bunting. There were also a few blackcaps and chiffchaffs around, but nothing rare.
Søren wished to see the lapland bunting so we drove back to a large grass area northeast of the village. As we drew up a hill I saw a tiny sandpiper flying by the car. It went down about 100 meters away where Søren relocated the bird. We found ourselves looking at a little stint-sized sandpiper that was not a little stint. It was rather uniform grey above with an almost invisible mantle-V. It was stocky with a short almost straight and rather thick bill. It had only faint markings on both sides of the chest. It had a rufous crown and cheek and white superlicium.
As we were sitting in the car the bird came as close as two meters from us – and we could even see half-webbed toes. Western sandpiper was excluded due to lack of rufous on the back, too short bill and chest markings – and the first SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER for the Faroes was a reality.
We enjoyed the bird at ridiculously short distance – If the plumage didn’t convince us that it was a yank the behaviour surely did!
After enjoying the sandpiper we relocated two lapland butings that also gave tremendous views down to a few meters. Then we checked Hvannasund, Árnafirði and Kunoy but we only saw blackcaps, blackcaps and more blackcaps. But a national first always saves the day!