The Great Tit inspired me to check my local area. The islands Kalsoy, Kunoy, Borðoy, Viðoy, Svínoy and Fugloy are called Norðoyggjar – or the northern islands. That’s where I do most of my birding.
Yesterday I checked Viðoy and Borðoy. The best birds were a Chaffinch in Viðareiði, the first Sylvia-warbler for the year – a Blackcap – at Hvannasund and a Slavonian Grebe at Árnafirði.
Today the sun was shining from a blue sky. So I decided to go to Svínoy, which is my favourite location on the Faroes. It is simply a magnet for rare birds. If that island was covered daily I can only imagine what would be seen. Since 2009 I’ve found Arctic, Subalpine, Melodious, Palla’s Grasshopper, Lesser Grey Shrike along with tons of Yellow-browed and Barred Warblers, Arctic and Lesser Redpoll and Common Rosefinches.
On the way out to Svínoy I looked for Puffins and Guillemots. There were scattered flocks of both. All of a sudden a Brunnich’s Guillemot appeared just 25 m from the boat. It was in summer plumage as most of the Guillemots and the two key features – the white stripe on the bill and the pointed rather than rounded limit between black and white on chest – were seen well. It actually gives the feeling of a hybrid Razorbill x Guillemot in my opinion. But well, as often when taken by surprise the camera was not at hand – and after 15 seconds we had passed the bird.
Brunnich’s Guillemot is not a rarity on the Faroes, but there is almost nobody looking out for them. Most of the birds recorded are birds that are shot during the winter months – as both Razorbills and Guillemots are regularly hunted for food.
When I came out to Svínoy I found a male and a female Gadwall. I’ve never seen them there before and they are rather uncommon on the Faroes.
I was really nice to be able to go birding in a T-shirt as the sun was shining from a clear sky. But there were not many migrants around. Two Bramblings, two Chiffchaffs, two Black-tailed Godwits, one Whimbrel, two white Hooded Crows, good numbers of Golden Plovers and two Long-tailed Ducks were the best birds.
But the day offered great opportunities to get some low-iso photos, so I exploited that opportunity.