Today I was able to go out birding for an hour or so while the kids were in Sunday school. As there have been loads of American shorebirds around the last few days in Western Europe I decided to check Viðareiði – the northernmost point of the Faroes.
I started Eysturi á Heygum, where I was delighted to find a nice Lapland Bunting – the first of the autumn. With the recent westerly winds it is probably from Greenland. It gave superb views along with the hundreds of Meadow Pipits and White Wagtails moving through at the moment.
Then I checked the gardens in the village only to find a Willow Warbler and 19 Black-tailed Godwits on a field.
A few ponds have been made in the village and they have proven to be magnets for shorebirds. First I scanned the ponds from the distance. A ruff was around, but then another shorebird flew across the pond. Rather large dunlin-type but with no white wing-bars. Yes, that has to be something good. So I walked closer and found a nice Pectoral Sandpiper foraging along the shore of one of the ponds. Great! The first true rarity of the autumn was a reality!
This is the 6th record of Pectoral Sandpiper for the Faroes and the fourth that I have found myself. Interestingly it is also the fourth individual to be found in Viðareiði making it the best place for American shorebirds on the Faroes (probably because it is one of the few places checked quite regularly).
We also had some morning drama from the kitchen window as a Great Skua caught and drowned a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.