Amazing!

A fraction of the birds present today in Klaksvík - Click to enlarge the image which is given in maximum resolution. Try to count the birds!

I feel like I have exhausted the english vocabulary  trying to express the magnitude of the current Iceland Gull invasion. Splendid, crazy, “once in a life time”, amazing – ok, I’ve read “Lord of the Rings” in english, so I know there’s much more to the english vocabulary than this – but today the number of Iceland Gulls exceeded 200 birds just in Klaksvík!!!  Prior to this invasion my local maximum was 7 at once… it is hard to encompass the splendor and magnitude of this invasion (seriously dude?)…

Both writing in english and watching gulls can sometimes be confusing!

This morning I got a brilliant idea. There is this weird problem that the Iceland Gulls are too close to photograph with my Oly. E-3 and Zuiko 300 mm F2.8. Most pics contain half a wing or something. So I got the idea to dust of the 50-200 mm F2.8-3.5 and try to use it. And I couldn’t have chosen a better day.

Iceland Gull in Klaksvík - why didn't I use this lens more often?

It has been rather windy (>20 m/s) during the night, so the harbour was loaded with birds – 200+ Iceland Gulls just in Klaksvík. It is probably the largest gathering of Iceland Gulls in WP outside Iceland – correct me if I am wrong.

By the way I’ve heard from Yann Kolbeinsson that he has heard from a birder in south-west Iceland (Ómar) that there doesn‘t appear to be any unusual numbers of Iceland Gulls around the Reykjanes peninsula at the moment.

There is an interesting thing about this particular arrival during the weekend. There are only very few “brown-winged” birds left. By far the largest portion looks like classic glaucoides – and the proportion of 1. winter birds has been on the rise and is now about 20 % of the birds. There do not seem to be many Kumlien’s Gulls around and I only found 4 in Klaksvík today – but several birds were to distant to be checked properly.

Nice 4. winter Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík

I also checked Hvannasund. There were 31 Iceland Gulls and two Kumlien’s Gulls – so it looks like the proportion of Kumlien’s Gulls has decreased. But now we’re gonna get some westerlies – so I bet they’ll be back in force!

Iceland Gull - Klaksvík

Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík

Iceland Gull - Klaksvík

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6 comments on “Amazing!

  1. Fantastic photos, and what an experience – first time I’ve seen this excellent blog, but I’ve just signed up to receive email updates. Look forward to more news of white-winged gulls etc soon (your numbers far outweigh those even in northern Scotland).
    Rgds
    Dominic Mitchell

  2. Russ says:

    I love the shot of the Iceland Gull against the snow-capped mountains. One for Facebook I think!

  3. Paul says:

    Silas, these daily updates are great for us in the UK – in North East Scotland we have seen increases for the past 4 weekends, and numbers of Icelands reached low twenties last weekend. No reason to believe it won’t keep increasing, given what is going on in the Faroes. Good birding, Paul

  4. Frédéric JIGUET says:

    Great gulls! Have you also been checking for any smithsonianus? There is a very dark 2nd winter to the right of your flock picture which looks interesting…

  5. In the overview the third bird from the right looks good for a Smitsonianus.

    • birdingfaroes says:

      Hi Folks!

      I have submitted a handfull of very dark Herring Gulls to the danish rc, but none have been accepted. I think we’ll need a fresh juvenile or a ringed bird in order to get it accepted.

      That being said the faroese Herring Gulls show a lot of variation and these very dark birds are not uncommon at all. It has even been suggested that the faroese and icelandic birds somehow are integrades between ssp. argenteus and ssp. smithsonianus…

      The faroese Herring Gulls constantly puzzle foreign observers, but this is just how the Herring Gulls look here. And off course this brings some of the european records (like the dutch bird present these days) into question – can they be safely identified at all? Surely many of them look like our northwestern Herring Gulls…

      Silas

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