The month of May has been terrible when it comes to eastern vagrants. Almost total lack of easterly winds has meant that no flycatchers, redstarts or whinchats have been recorded to my knowledge. Furthermore I’ve only seen a few Lesser Whitethroats, less than 100 Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers and only one single Blackcap and one Bluethroat. It’s almost like Iceland…
Shetland always gets some good birds, but so far they didn’t really reach the Faroes in numbers. Anyways, today I checked our own Fair Isle equivalent Svínoy. If there are eastern birds around it has to be there.
As I arrived I was pleased to see 8 pairs of Golden Plovers, several Whimbrels, Common Snipes and Meadow Pipits.
In the bay there was a Long-tailed Ducks and a few Arctic and Great Skuas were also present.
In the gardens a few Chiffchaffs were present. But after about 2 hours of birding I heard a Sylvia song, that sounded interesting. But as I approached the garden the bird went silent. So after a while I took a rest in front of another garden. After a few minutes a bird flew in and when I got my bins on it it was a superb Subalpine Warbler male! Svínoy strikes again! It is the 7th record for the Faroes.
The bird turned out to be quite elusive. And of course it’s not easy when you are alone watching birds on an island almost four times the size of Fair Isle.
The red colour was limited to the chest and the malar stribe being broad means that it is likely an Eastern Subalpine Warbler. Both the call (a harsh teck) and the song were recorded on video.