Two days ago I talked to Rodmund on the phone while parked outside the plantation in Kunoy. All of a sudden I saw a small bird 20 meters from the car. I got bins on it shooottt… That was almost like a Wood Warbler with a shiny white breast and belly, but it was more light brown-greyish above. I ended the conversation and went out to look for it. It had flown into the plantation, where I managed to see it for 5 seconds in the canopy and I managed to get some crappy shots – look above.
Then it started to rain cats and dogs, and after searching for about 45 minutes and getting totally soaked I gave up. It was also getting dark at this point. But the bird really annoyed my, so when visiting Danish birder Ragnar Smith asked about the day’s birds I mentioned a “Retarted” warbler. I was not happy with getting so short and bad views and after seeing the pictures I got of the bird I just got more annoyed. It was impossible to say anything.
So I checked again yesterday, but a kindergarten had decided to make a picnic in the plantation – so no birds. So I decided that it was probably just a weird tristis or late Willow Warbler.
But I couldn’t let the bird go. So I checked the plantation again today. Nothing. Then I checked the village, where a nice lady told me about a Robin, that had been standing right next to her while working in the garden. While birding around she called me from the distance. The Robin had returned – and great was the joy of seeing a Robin!
In the best garden in Kunoy they were slaughtering sheep. Bummer. So there was virtually just one undisturbed Willow Tree left – one next to the stream close by the church. I went there and boooommmmmmm. A Bonelli’s Warbler was right in front of me! Surely the same bird as two days earlier.
It only stayed in the tree for 10 seconds before flying along the stream towards the plantation. I called Ragnar Smith, who is on Suðuroy, RoC in Denmark, just to know if call was 100% crucial and to get the bird news out, and of course Rodmund was informed.
In the plantation the bird was easily relocated and it gave supreme views for about 10 minutes. It didn’t call, so I tried with play-back and it reacted very well on the call of Western Bonelli’s but not on Eastern at all. After 20 minutes it disappeared totally. But no calls were heard. I looked for about 30 minutes before checking the village again. Yup, there it was in a garden. This time I had it for about 30 minutes, but still no calls. So I tried play-back again with the same result. It started looking and came within 4 meters distance when playing Western (not Dolly Parton or Chris Kristofferson though), but didn’t react to Eastern at all.
Plumage (as brown as it can get, 4 emarginations and a long p1 – comment by Steven Wytema ) combined with the birds reaction pattern makes this a most likely Western Bonelli’s Warbler and a nice addition to the Faroese list! But hopefully it will call tomorrow!