White-crowned Sparrow


I really love birding on the Faroes. It is just so unpredictable. The next rarity can be both in you garden or overseas. Yesterday I checked Svínoy – one of the two eastern islands. It is my favorite spot on the Faroes and I’ve found quite a good selection of birds there. Yesterday was no exception. 11 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler, Barred Warbler, Reed Warbler, Water Rail, Siskins, Redpolls and Barn Swallow. Nothing extreme but not bad for the Faroes (you need to be Icelandic to understand this I guess). But frankly is was quite relaxing to be ”stuck” on the island for 7 hours.

Reed Warbler

Today I wasn’t permitted to do a lot of birding. Some Ikea furniture needed to be put together and the kids needed to catch craps and fish. But eventually I got permission to go out for a few hours. So I went straight to Viðareiði – the northernmost village of the Faroes.

Good numbers of migrants were present. Yellow-browed Warbler, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Chaffinches, 6 Ruff and…

As so many times before I checked the garden of our former prime minister. I had left the camera in the car overnight, so the batteries had cooled down and didn’t work for long. I had just changed the battery in the camera before checking the prime ministers garden. But I hadn’t checked if the camera worked.

As I reached the garden a small sparrow put on an appearance 30 meters away. Reddish crown and white wing bar. Quite long tail. Yes! Surely one of those American Sparrows. I took my camera and pointed towards the bird – just to find out that the battery wasn’t working… Are you kidding me? Now? Just now?

White-crowned Sparrow


White-crowned Sparrow

I rushed to the car to get another battery. And finally the camera turned on. I went back to the garden – but no bird. I searched frantically. One garden. Two gardens. Three gardens. Then I saw a bird on an electric wire. Yes! The bird! It took off, but then landed in a potato field, which it often frequented during the afternoon. There I managed to obtain some photos of the bird before it moved on. I sent to pics to Yann Kolbeinsson, who was twitching a Great Knot. It’s KNOTS… Totally nuts. So many megas in Shetland, Faroes and Iceland. Yann had a look at the pictures while I tried to get better photos. Juv. White-crowned Sparrow was his conclusion while I struggled to document the bird. Oh the joy of the new era with facebook and everything.

White-crowned Sparrow

I also called Rodmund, but he didn’t have time to twitch the bird. Imagine finding a national first without anyone even trying to twitch… that happens ONLY on the Faroes!

White-crowned Sparrow

The bird was present but somewhat mobile in central Viðareiði during the afternoon. Due to dark skies it wasn’t possible to get really good photos. And I needed to buy groceries, so I left the place after about 1½ hour. Hopefully it will be around tomorrow.

Another self found national first became a reality today. Not one of the most expected, but a much rarer one. Just keep them coming!

Oh yes, there was also a Song Thrush at Viðareiði

More on this bird will be posted later!



One comment on “White-crowned Sparrow

  1. […] Silas has an amazing autumn for rarity finding, including Faroes first Parrot Crossbill and White-crowned Sparrow. Great stuff. On top of all those brilliant rarities, Silas found on October 4th […]

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