Lots of birds – finally!

Blackcap invasion

Blackcap invasion

It has been quite an interesting week so far. Last Sunday I visited Nólsoy. There I found a stunning Arctic Redpoll. It was very tame and gave views down to 3 meters. Lately my camera has acted weird. The display doesn’t work and it doesn’t really behave as it should– so after shooting lots of photos I came home just to learn that the memory card was empty… Edward Rickson – the icelandic scotsman helped me afterwards by saying on facebook: What a thing to happen when faced with the world’s most beautiful passerine!” Thanks, Ed!

More Blackcaps...

More Blackcaps…

Very strong easterly winds have been dominating during the week. It has led to the biggest arrival of passerines so far this autumn. Two days ago I found 15 Blackcaps in a single garden and in the small village of Kunoy I found 29 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs (northern), 4 Bramblings and 5 Goldcrests. Quite impressing for that small village.

Tree Sparrow and Chaffinch

Tree Sparrow and Chaffinch

I’ve also visited Svínoy, but only for 40 minutes. There were more Bramblings, Chaffinches, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs – and 9 Tree Sparrows.

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

At Viðareiði there were even more Blackcaps, Blackcaps and Blackcaps – and a Short-eared Owl flew over as it was chased by corvids.

Waxwing

Waxwing

Hvannasund has also contained some good birds during the last days including this years first Waxwing and a beautiful male Bullfinch – and many Blackcaps.

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill

Today I checked Klaksvík. Hopes were high after Mike (the grand wizard of Unst) found a sycamore-dwelling Cape May Warbler just a few hundred kilometers south-east of the Faroes. Icelanders have also come up with two Parrot Crossbills and a Hoopoe. So I went to check the plantation Grøv in Klaksvík today. In nice sunshine I first heard a call similar to Parrot Crossbill, but could only find a Common Crossbill (and I only saw it for a few seconds). The plantation only has a few walking pads and finding birds is quite hard. But I couldn’t find any Parrots and Klaus Malling Olsen (world class birder) sent me a message this evening that Common Crossbills actually can utter similar calls every now and then.

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

Lesser Redpoll-type

Lesser Redpoll-type

Lesser Redpoll-type

Lesser Redpoll-type

Besides the Common Crossbill I found a female Bullfinch, Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Mealy Redpoll and a Lesser Redpoll-type in the plantation.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

I also checked Àrnafirði briefly today and found a Grey Wagtail along with an interesting Lesser Whitethroat looking very eastern.

"Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat

“Eastern” Lesser Whitethroat

So to summon it all up: Lots of birds, several scarcities, a few rarities and no megas.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Silas Olofson

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4 comments on “Lots of birds – finally!

  1. Patrik Wildjang (Stockholm, Sweden) says:

    Hi Silas!
    Nice to read that you had a great influx of warblers! It seems like there are surprising downfalls at the Faroes that are unpredictable to expect or…? Theoretically these birds should be coming from a “migratory-wave” from the east on an opposite/extended migration-movement(?). This personal and unproven theory-idea about unpredictable “wave” comes from my very brief comparison to some low ringing numbers in Swedish bird-observatories, based on the east coast during the last couple of days. It would be easier to understand this migraion phenomena, if you could get pre-indications of downfalls in Norway or in Sweden that a “wave” is coming. But very often i.e Fair isle or the Norwegian islands get all the “hot-stuff” and Sweden just poor left-overs, meaning that the eastern sibs are likely flying over Sweden without even a stop-over… Else I´m really stunned by the potential that the Faroe islands got, both for american and siberian vagrants in the middle of the Atlantic. And as you often say, if there were just some more birders around to find out where the gems are hidden…

    Well, keep up the good birding and maybe the mega is still around!

    • When you say “flying over Sweden” I agree with the theory only if you mean north of Sweden … which is most probably the route many Siberian birds take. They go on a migration taking them to the (northern) coast and then follow it. That means when they come to Scandinavia they will only see the north and west-facing counties of Norway – from Finnmark in the north to Vest-Agder in the south. This stretch of coast hold an overwhelmingly large portion (in a Scandinavian perspective) of certain eastern vagrants like Pechora Pipit, Siberian Rubythroat, Pallas´s Grasshopper Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler and Chestnut Bunting. Taken together with the number of birders searching these areas (few) compared with the numbers along the coasts in Finland, Sweden and Denmark (very many) and then comparing results, it is probably safe to assume that this migration route is real.

      • Patrik Wildjang (Stockholm, Sweden) says:

        I agree that some migratory vagrants most likely follow the Norwegian coastline, but this should mostly be the case regarding especially day-migrating species like pipits, wagtails, finches etc. The major part of all passerines migrates (as well-known) during the night-time, departing approximately 1 hour after sunset according to radar-studies. This fact make me believe that the “lost” vagrants don´t always got the sense to correct their direction mistake at night-time, caused by a wrong compass ability or if they just follow the tail-wind (because it is an easy convenient juvenile way), and then start following a coastline in the pitch-dark despite lights at the ground. Meaning that I don´t think the mistaken night-migrators, after a brief stop-over somewhere in Scandinavia, correct their mistake by looking around and then all of a sudden by genetically instinct know they should be heading south following the coastline during night-time. Instead I believe a tremendous amount of those vagrants, and also individuals of common species that probably have “lost” their genetically compass ability, continue W or SW and drown… unless they are lucky finding an island like the Faroes or Shetlands or elsewhere to land exhausted.

        For long-distance vagrants it also takes perfect weather conditions to make such unexpected “down-falls” to happen with a favorable migration-corridor from the east, pumping in interesting birds towards Scandinavia. It seems to be often needed a perfect high-pressure corridor over Russia occurring like in this autumn. More often as in normal years, when a broader “migratory-front” of eastern birds happens, they scarcely seem to spread more all over Scandinavia. The result of this phenomenal is obviously depending on what weather-conditions they meet here, when they are hitting i.e the Swedish coast-line at least, if we get “down-falls” or not. However, since we all know that a great deal of bird-watchers are looking for possible vagrants and are searching through most “hot-spots” in Scandinavia and elsewhere.

        This year a noticeable “down-fall” of interesting eastern birds did happen in the north like in the Umeå-Luleå region of Sweden, and evidently a much greater number of them landed along the coast-line of Norway! Apparently when the birds meet over-cast or head-winds, they get forced to land, and the opposite with clear sky, it make it possible for them fly even further crossing over i.e Sweden. If the weather and winds from the eastern sector in the autumn are hitting areas further south, down-falls” could happen in the southern parts of Scandinavia or at the Continent as well. Meantime no “down-falls” in the north could be the case as well-known too, but it´s normally true that the eastern vagrants in autumn starts start showing up in the northern parts.

        Another of my theories when the right weather conditions or clear skies occurs, is that the night-distance for eastern migrating birds is then more accurate for landing in Norway than Sweden. In September Sweden got only a decent “left-over” result in comparison to what have happened this autumn along the Norway coast-line. I´m referring to this extraordinary “down-fall” with several hundreds of yellow-browed warblers in Norway during 21-25th September this year. The “lost” lucky survivors of the yellow-browed warblers also occurred with relatively good numbers in the Faroe Islands.

  2. dickslexic says:

    Some great shots there !!!

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