5 minutes of birding

Queen Eider in Vestmannasund

There hasn’t been much time for birding during the last days. But after dropping of some people at the airport I had time to get out. After five days of sunshine and temperatures reaching 20 C today was cloudy and cooler. In Sørvágur a few dunlins were on the beach and a Chiffchaff was singing in a garden. At Leitisvatn/Sørvágsvatn a male Pochard was joining some tufted ducks. In Miðvágur more dunlins and Ringed Plovers were on the beach along with two Gadwalls.

Todays selection of shorebirds at Eiði

At Vestmannasund I checked for the female King Eider and I found it right away. It gave really good views and came rather close – actually a beautiful bird! I then checked Mjáuvøtn, Kollafjørð, Streymnes and Norðskála, but except for a few Knots there wasn’t much to see. So I went to Eiði – the northern tip of Eysturoy. I parked the car close to the lake and found about 20 Dunlins, some Ringed Plovers and a Pectoral Sandpiper after a few minutes. The Pec Sand is my third on the Faroes and the first 2cy+. Really a beautiful bird which gave amazing views.

Pectoral Sandpiper – Eiði

Pec Sand

A few meters away from the Pec Sand I saw a reddish headed bird in a small tree. For a nano second I hoped to see a shrike when I lifted my bins, but well, it was a Tree Sparrow… hm… the second in 28 years and the second in a week.

Shrikish Tree Sparrow – when will the first Woodchat Shrike for the Faroes be seen?

But neither a Pec Sand or a Tree Sparrow is really enough give an adrenalin rush, so I scanned the lake and soon found a small Scaup-type, which was sleeping along with a Tufted Duck. It was roughly the same size as the Tufted Duck, so the alarm bells rang. It had to be checked even though I have already seen Lesser Scaup on the Faroes.  So it was “only” an addition to my self-found list. But the bird really stretched my patience – it was just sleeping for about two hours. Finally it flew and revealed nice dark mirrow in the outer wing with a clear-cut contrast to the white mirror of the inner wing. If accepted this will be the second record of Lesser Scaup on the Faroes.

Lesser Scaup – Eiði

Lesser Scaup – Eiði

Lesser Scaup and Tufted Duck- Eiði

Lesser Scaup – Eiði

After a few minutes I got excited as I flushed a bunting. It was very elusive but after a while it revealed itself – it was only a Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting

But well, this is the first time I’ve found 3 rarities within 5 minutes. But hopefully something really rare like an Ortulan Bunting or Golden Oriole will show up 🙂

This female eider was big and pale – not a ssp. faroeensis.




2 comments on “5 minutes of birding

  1. Rodmund á Kelduni says:

    Hi Silas.

    I have seen the Lesser scaup and pectoral sandpiper this evning, the Lesser scaup was seen well and it is spot on, nothing aberant, i got some good photos and will send you some later this week, nice going.

    About the female Eider, why is it not a ssp. faroeensis ?


  2. birdingfaroes says:

    Hi Rodmund

    I’m glad that you got some better photos of the lesser scaup as mine were less than perfect!

    When it comes to the eider the reason I believe it is a “foreign” bird is that is was a whole lot bigger and paler and had a different structure than the faroese eiders that it had joined.

    But that being said I don’t think there is much more to do about such females.


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