The grass fields on Svínoy

The grass fields on Svínoy

Today I did something I actually hate to do. It has been very windy for more than a week with heavy showers, hail and wind speed beyond 30 m/s.

Today was finally fine and bright, but a little windy. So I decided to go to Svínoy. I was unable to use the whole day there due to other appointments, but if I got off when the ferry heads for Fugloy I could get about an hour on the island.

I hate to do this  ’cause there simple isn’t time to check anything properly. But I really wanted to go. And so I did.

I came to Svinoy and there were good numbers of birds in the gardens including my first Reed Warbler of the year.

Then I went to the east of the village where there are a few square kilometers of tall grass. That is the place where I first found the Little Bunting a few weeks ago and the Pallas’ Gropper a few years ago.

Right upon arrival I saw a small bird moving on the edge of the grass. It soon “walked” a little further in, but I could obtain accidental views from only 4 meters distance.

Most obvious was the size – like a wren but shape like a locustella.  The back had black stripes like a Meadow Pipit. It had stripes on the breast and flanks. The breast was also brighter than the flanks.

The tertials were plain black with even pale edges and the tail was short.

Common Grashopper Warbler could easily be eliminated by tail length, tertial colours and back and breast stripes. Pallas’ was eliminated by the lack of “Sedge Warbler face”(eyestripe) and lack of rusty-red colours.

The first Lanceolated Warbler for the Faroe Islands was right in front of me. I tried to get some photos, but I only managed to photograph grass. I didn’t have time to wait it out, so I flushed the bird easily the first time, but it just flew 5 meters and dived into the one meter tall grass. Photographing it was impossible.

I managed to flush it a second time when I almost stepped on it, but it just flew a little further away across the road into another field.

When I found the Pallas’ Gropper I was birding with a danish birder, Jan. That meant that we could cover much more ground and keep track of the bird more easily (and Pallas’ calls eagerly but Lancey normally doesn’t say anything to my knowledge). If only there was someone with me today…

I lost the bird and could not relocate it. Anyways, it was imperative for me to catch the ferry. So I didn’t get photos of the little skulker.

Claiming a national first without pictures… well, that is like finding a Slender-billed Curlew in the UK. Not matter what it is just not supposed to happen. It is not acceptable. But I might send a description anyways…

Pallas' Gropper at the same place 5 years ago - 5th October 2009.

Pallas’ Gropper at the same place 5 years ago – 5th October 2009.



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