One of the really exciting things about birding is to find national firsts. I’ve found about ten of those so far on the Faroes, and it never gets boring. But they way it should happen is something like this: You go out birding. You see a bird. You identify it and you get some nice photos. And the bird gets accepted by the rarity committee.
Yesterday I came into a house, where a collection of stuffed birds were shown to me. After seeing a Yellow Warbler in such a collection I almost expected to find something. And there were several good birds in the collection. An adult Pomarie Skua, a Peregrine Falcon, a Tufted Duck, a Sparrowhawk and… wow… a Northern Hawk Owl… WHAT???
All the birds had been caught by a fisherman onboard a faroese fishing vessel. But the fisherman is currently out fishing, so he couldn’t tell me where he had caught the Northern Hawk Owl. But when he comes home I’ll find out – it could be an addition to the Faroese list. But seriously that’s not the funny way of adding birds to the Faroese list.
But Northern Hawk Owl isn’t totally unexpected. It has been seen on Shetland and during the early 1980’s a likely Northern Hawk Owl was seen by the those working at the lighthouse at Akraberg, Suðuroy – the “Sumburg Head” of the Faroes. It was submitted to the rarities committee but it was also rejected.
Anyways, it would be amazing one day to find a Northern Hawk Owl somewhere on the Faroes! But right now there isn’t much to see. We have freezing temperatures and snow now. The shags are gathering and I counted 133 from the kitchen window yesterday – and a few Iceland and Glaucous Gulls are still around. But an Ivory and a Laughing Gull at Høfn in Iceland give hope of something good before the year is over.