On friday morning we left Suðuroy and went birding on Streymoy for some hours before taking the small ferry to Mykines. The weather was really nice, but there were almost no migrants around. The best birds were a pair of Gadwalls and a Barnacle Goose at Vestmanna.
We went to the ferry and started sailing out to Mykines. In Sørvágsfjørður we got a surprise as a summer plumaged Brunnich’s Guillemot gave good views to all three os us. But besides that we “only” saw hundreds of Gannets, Fulmars, Puffins and a few Great and Arctic Skuas.
We arrived in Mykines at 17:20 and went to Kristianshús, were we had rented two rooms. After getting setteled we checked the village, but we didn’t find anything beyond the ordinary. SEP and PJP went early to bed, because we were going out to look for Storm-Petrels at midnight.
So went it got sufficiently dark I woke up the others and we went out into the bright night. After walking about 20 minutes up to the ridge – where the memorial stone of those who have died on the sea and during bird hunting is located – we soon heard the first European Storm-Petrels and half and hour later we started to see the first birds. But admittedly it is hard to see them – ’cause all you see is a white flash on most occasions. But we counted 11 birds and PJP got himself a lifer! So it was nice and the effort paid off.
After a good nights sleep we woke up and after breakfast we went out to Mykines Hólmur. On the way there you pass by the largest Puffin-colony on the Faroes. I don’t know the numbers of Puffins breeding there, but in the good old days at least 100.000 birds were caught each year – and the swarms had such a size and density that they had the same effect as a cloud shadowing the sun… But next to zero chicks have been raised for about 7 years and the numbers of birds caught has gone down from 100.000 to zero last year – the people of Mykines have decided to protect the Puffins from hunting until the situation changes.
But there still are a lot of Puffins. And for people who do not seen large numbers of birds every day about 10.000 Puffins really is a stunning sight. And yesterday was a photographers dream with good weather at tons of birds present. When sitting down the birds get really close ’cause they’re occupied by other activities like diggins holes, fighting and mating.
While I was watching the Puffins a Long-eared Owl flew by – not exactly the bird I would expect out there.
Hopefully this will be a succesful breeding year, but it is still way to early tell. But the Gannets seem to do well, and the colony expands a bit each year. Mykines contains the sole faroese colony and seeing thousands of these marvellous birds really is amazing. Other birds seen regularly were breeding Fulmars, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Arctic Skuas and the Great Skuas were constantly hunting the Puffins. A few Ravens were present near the lighthouse – but no rarities were seen. Not ok – just being there on Mykines is enough excitement in itself.
We left the island at 17:30 and went to Sørvágur. Janus Hansen had just send me a picture of a Queen Eider that we had found in Vestmannasund. We went there and PJP located the bird within a few minutes – a nice surprise and a scarce migrant.
Today SEP and PJP went home and I’m back in Klaksvík after an action packed week – but a week with no rarities. But now the wind has turned from north to southeast – the rarities will come soon!