White-winged chaos!

I wouldn’t believe that is was possible to see more Iceland Gulls than yesterday. But I was wrong. A look out of the window this morning stunned me. White gulls everywhere! A cautious guess is that there were more than 100 Iceland Gulls in Klaksvík alone today!

Almost 40 % of todays birds were adults!

In Klaksvík I found two first winters, two second winters and two adult Kumlien’s Gulls.

2nd winter Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík

2nd winter Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík

2nd winter Kumlien's Gull or dark Iceland Gull - Klaksvík


First winter Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík


Second winter Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík


Adult Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík

After watching all the Iceland Gulls in Klaksvík I went to Hvannasund. There were 26 Iceland Gulls and two Glaucous Gulls there. And one should bear in mind that this is just a small village with a small harbour.

Adult Kumlien's Gull - Hvannasund

Almost immediately a seriously dark Kumlien’s Gull caught my eyes. It was a second winter bird. It was big and weird. I’ve never seen such a funny bird – is was almost like the front part of the bird was white and the back part was dark.

Dark 2nd winter Kumlien's Gull - Hvannasund


Dark 2nd winter Kumlien's Gull - Hvannasund


Dark 2nd winter Kumlien's Gull - Hvannasund

But there were other good gulls around too. Two adults, one first winter and one or two second winter Kumlien’s Gulls. And three Glaucous Gulls were also present.

A different adult Kumlien's Gull - Hvannasund

On my way back I checked Árnafirði. On the beach there were two first winter Glaucous Gulls and an adult Kumlien’s Gull was eating the remains of a Pink-fooed Goose.

Kumlien's Gull and dead Pink-footed Goose - Àrnafirði

Well, if you like white-winged gulls the Faroe Islands is the place to be right now. All in all I found 127 Iceland Gulls and 11 Kumlien’s Gulls within 15 minutes drive from my home… spectacular!

7 comments on “Increase!

  1. Russ says:

    That top picture is awsome Silas!

  2. Hugh Harrop says:

    Incredible – love the video on FB! Ivory Gull next…?

  3. Russ says:

    Surely a Ross’s! Are there any records from Faroe? I suppose Thayer’s should be on the radar as well…I need to learn how to spell ‘awesome’ judging by my first comment!

  4. birdingfaroes says:

    Hi Russ and Hugh…

    Yes, there are a handfull of Ross’s Gull records here. I found a 2cy last year and Rockmund found an adult. Another one would be most welcome – but the targets are Ivory, Ivory and more Ivory… But Ivory peaks in november and they probably don’t follow the other white gulls that much…

    But no matter what this is awsome (my english spelling is bad too, Russ :-)… A solid dark Kumlien’s always gives a kick…

    Well, all these gulls would be new to the Faroes: Yellow-legged, Laughing, Bonaparte’s, Caspian and the most wanted Black-tailed Gull!

  5. Martin G says:

    Truly incredible!! Does anyone know if this exceptional influx been witnessed in Iceland too?

  6. Kent Olsen says:

    Note that the outer two primaries on the glaucoides in the top of the upper photo in this blog post haven’t yet been renewed. I can’t remember that I have seen arrested moult in glaucoides in winter, but maybe I missed something. Has anybody seen or documented that before?

  7. birdingfaroes says:

    Hi Kent

    We see that on quite a few birds here. This is kind of tricky as some of the birds tend to look like Kumlien’s Gulls due to brownish marking on the primaries which again is due to arrested moult. So even some adults (5cy+) are really hard to id for sure.

    Could this be a sign to the fact that these birds are in rather bad shape?


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