Putative Blyth's Reed Warbler

Yesterday I got a phone call from Rockmund. He had just seen a goldcrest without any crown and just a small white eye ring – surely it sounded like a ruby-crowned kinglet! We had checked Suðuroy for several hours and only seen a red-backed shrike, a few common warblers, a sparrowhawk and two greenland white-fronted geese. So it was easy to take the ferry to Tórshavn and then continue to Vágar.

We rented a house and got up this morning hurrying to Sørvágur. There Rockmund joined us and we started checking the village. There are a lot of gardens and thousands of threes and shrubbery, so it is not easy to find a small bird there.


At one stage I found a stonechat in an area with tall grass. It was a nice male probably ssp. hibernans. A new faroese tick to Rockmund and Søren. Two hours later I was enjoying the stonechat again when I noticed a warbler in the grass. It was gone for minutes and only giving very brief views. But after a while I saw it good enough to confirm it as a pale acro. Furthermore it had a distinct eyestripe on both sides of the eye. The legs seemed rather dark and the primary projection didn’t seem very long. And the tertials didn’t show that much of a contrast – so I reported it to the others as a putative Blyth’s Reed Warbler. If accepted it will be the second for the Faroes and my second in a little over a month. I got some photos from a distance but soon it vanished totally – and we couldn’t relocate the bird later on.

Putative Blyth's Reed Warbler

Based on the things mentioned above I still have a Blyth’s feeling on this bird. Western reed can be excluded on the lack of any reddich-brown colour, but I don’t know about eastern reed warblers? And the primary projection looks rather long. Admittedly some pics of Blyth’s show a rather long pp, but can a very late marsh warbler be excluded? Life would be so much easier if you could put a few mist-nets and catch these acros…

Putative blyth's reed warbler

All in all we saw two yellow-browed warblers, stonechat, hawfinch, putative blyth’s reed warbler, long-eared owl, a few chiffchaffs including one ssp. tristis, one goldcrest and about 7 blackcaps. The big question now is if it was a good or a bad day. We surely didn’t see anything as rare as a ruby-crowned kinglet  – but we saw some nice birds, so I’m happy… But it is a little ironic after all.



One comment on “Ironic

  1. Yann Kolbeinsson says:


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