While I was on Suðuroy last weekend Rodmund found the second Northern Goshawk for the Faroes just 20 minutes drive from my home in Hvannasund. Finding rarities in my hood is a declaration of war. And he knows that!
With the ongoing invasion of Parrot Crossbills in Shetland (and a single Icelandic record so far this year) I’ve been dying to find the first one for the Faroes for a few days now. That means checking pines and plantations.
Yesterday I first checked Kunoy and Grøv in Klaksvík, but the best bird was a Tree Pipit in Klaksvík. Then I checked the plantation in Miðvágur, where I briefly saw a huge and silent Crossbill fly away. I had some stuff to attend to so I called Rodmund, who later checked the place again. He managed to see a huge red Crossbill, but again it flew off.
Today I had to take some visitors to the airport. This provided me with the opportunity to check the plantation in Miðvágur again. Yellow-browed, Chiffchaff and Chaffinch were all present, but no trace of any Crossbills. But after checking the plantation once I decided to do another round. And booommmm.. All of a sudden a nice red male Parrot Crossbill landed just 5 meters away from me in a pine tree. It flew a bit further away but allowed me to take a couple of photos. Then it took off calling eagerly. Yes, yes, yes! The first Parrot Crossbill for the Faroes was a reality – and it was found of Rodmunds island of Vágar! Don’t mess with my hood, Rodmund!
I called Rodmund right away. He had been checking the island of Sandoy, but there was nothing on interest. So he had taken the ferry back to Streymoy and was checking Tórshavn. As I told him that I had found a Parrot Crossbill in Miðvágur he jumped in his car and arrived 30 minutes later.
The Parrot Crossbill had been feeding on comes just next to the road, but some German tourists had made it move to more dense areas of the plantation. But shortly after Rodmund arrived it turned up again giving good views in top of a tree.
We then decided to join forces and go to Sørvágur – Rodmunds hometown. As we arrived we split up in order to cover more ground. I started to check the area between the church and the school. A single Yellow-browed was calling when I noticed a pipit on the ground. It came out in the open shortly after band BANG… Olive-backed Pipit. I obtained a few pics before calling Rodmund. ”Hey dude. Would you like to see an OBP?” I told him. ”What? You’re kidding me!” he replied. But no. I was serious. So he came running. But while moving towards the place where I had found the OBP he obtained brief views of another Parrot Crossbill. But it took off before he got any photos.
Shortly after he arrived and we both obtained amazing views of the OBP. It’s the 4th for the Faroes and my second.
We then decided to look for the Parrot Crossbill. Rodmund saw it shortly and I heard in once, but we couldn’t relocate it. But while searching I got brief views of a Redstart-thing with white markings on the wing. But I only saw it for a second.
While searching we saw a Whinchat.
We continued looking and suddenly the Redstart was sitting on a concrete wall, where we both obtained good views and were able to follow the bird for a while. A nice eastern-type male Common Redstart. But it soon disappeared and it started raining.
On the beach a Little Stint that Rodmund had found a few days ago was still present. But we didn’t even care.
We then wanted to have another look at the OBP. Rodmund stayed outside the garden while I walked in. It is quite a long stretch of trees – maybe 200 meters long. After a while the OBP took off and landed in the western end of the stretch of trees. So we decided to leave it. But as I returned to the eastern part of the trees I flushed an OBP. Where there two birds? After we returned home Rodmund had a look at his pictures and it surely looks like there are two different birds around!
As the weather worsened we decided to move on so Sandavágur, but it was getting late and we didn’t find anything special.
I didn’t avenge sevenfold, but hopefully Rodmund has learned that he should not find rarities on my patch, while I’m gone! His hubris surely led to nemesis!
Todays afternoon birding was nothing less of amazing. The Parrot Crossbill is a national first. If accepted the Eastern Redstart will be a new race to the Faroes. And two OBPs are always nice to see. Now imagine if more birders were around up here…