148 Iceland Gulls!

A lot of Iceland Gulls

Is this a “once in a decade” or “once in a lifetime” invasion of Iceland Gulls? They are all over, simple as that!
Today I checked Tórshavn, where there were 15. In Klaksvík there were 14. In Vestmanna there were 7. Between Kollafjørð and Gøta there were 12. In Leirvík there were 3. And in Kollafirði I counted 31 on the ocean, 14 on the beach and several flying around at the same time – a conservative estimate was 50 birds – but there could be as many as 80. So I’ve found more than 101 today!

This evening Rodmund á Kelduni (Rockmund) called me. He had found 47 Iceland Gulls and 13 Glaucous Gull at Sørvágur. Five individuals were Kumlien’s Gulls. One of them was really dark, but Rockmund didn’t get good pics of the bird. But surely it looks interesting!

A dark 2nd winter Kumlien's Gull - photo: Rockmund

A rather depressing feature – that does support the previous blog post about the condition of the birds – was, that Rockmund found no less than five dead Iceland Gulls on the beach of Sørvágur.

Dead Iceland Gull - photo by Rockmund

The age of the Iceland Gulls is interesting. About 1/3 of the gulls were adults. In Sørvágur it was 8 out of 47. First and second winters are almost equally common, but there are fewer 3rd winters. Normally we only see a few adults compared to the number of first winters!
Below I’ll post some of the todays pics!

Adult Kumlien's Gull with minimal dark markings

A more extensively marked Kumlien's Gull

Try to locate the Kumlien's Gull

Kumlien's with dark iris

A nice adult Kumlien's with minimal markings

And one with a little more extensive markings

The Beast - Glaucous Gull

Unlike Icelanders the Gulls are not friendly

Gull mixture!

Damage rather than obscure moulting

Almost 20 white-winged on the same picture!

With Rockmunds 47 and my 101 Iceland Gulls the total for today is 148!!!


5 comments on “148 Iceland Gulls!

  1. Morten says:

    What do you think about the gull in right at the pic with comment “And one with a little more extensive markings” This first winter look even too dark for LBBG….

    Best wishes,


  2. Just great! We are waiting for some of the birds here in Latvia, Baltics!:)

  3. Pim Wolf says:

    Hello Silas, great to see that this influx is documented with great pictures. Keep them coming, lots of interesting plumages, moults, and hard to identify birds to keep us all busy on the way to spring and probably long after that. Apart from all those white-winged birds, the bird that Morten has already responded to also caught my eye. From your other photo’s I can see that your Herring Gulls are much darker than the local argenteus in the Netherlands. Compare your birds to the argenteus ringed in Belgium and the Netherlands for comparison (http://www.gull-research.org/hg/HG2CY01.htm). The tail on that first winter/2cy bird would raise an eyebrow or two in the Netherlands.

    So, when you are done with those white-winged gulls, spare a moment or two at the fish factory to photograph those Herring Gulls as well!

    best wishes and good light,

    Pim Wolf

  4. birdingfaroes says:

    Hi Pim

    Yes, it is very interesting to get such numbers of birds with great oppertunities to compare and contrast them. I’ll post more pictures as time goes by – I surely have enough to keep the winter period from being boring.

    Concerning the Herring Gulls it is true that the Faroese birds are very dark. And some of them have been assesed by the danish rarities committy, but non accepted as smithsonianus. I’ve photographed quite a few during the years and some can be seen here:






    But just like glaucoides gradually fades into thayers, it is possible that argenteus gradually fades into smithsonianus via the north atlantic…

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