A few weeks ago I was shown a bad quality photo of a pale Black Guillemot apparently taken weeks or even months ago. It looked very interesting as a possible Mandt’s Guillemot. As the observation seemed old I’d didn’t travel to Sund close to Tórshavn to look for it. And the quality of the one picture was so bad that it would never be accepted as a such anyways.
Yesterday new pictures taken on the 6h of March were presented on the internet on Jens-Kjeld Jensens homepage. The photos still were not very good, but it surely looked much paler than our resident faroeensis Black Guilemots.
Today I happened to pass the place where the pictures were taken 19 days ago. So I convinced the family to check the place Í Sundi. A long shot alright, but if you don’t try you don’t succeed. As we drew along the pier my 7-year-old daughter, who fancies birds all of a sudden asked: ”Hey dad, what’s that black and white bird with a black bill over there?” I got the bins on the bird and bingo! It was the pale Black Guillemot foraging only 30 meters away. Honestly I could easily have missed the bird if it wasn’t for my daughters sharp eyes.
The bird spent most of the time under water, where it caught at least three Rock Gunnels while we watched it. It gave amazing views and was much less shy than our breeding birds (which are almost in complete summer plumage now).
It think the bird is a strong candidate for a Mandt’s Guillemot from the Arctic.
White covers about half on the underside of the primaries (almost black in other taxa).
Secondaries similarily white-based.
White bar across median and greater covers on outer upperwing.
- White colouring on primaries visible on upperwing.
The bird is moulting into summer plumage which explains the dark patches on the head and rump. The lack of black in the white ovals on the inner upperwing makes me think this is a 3cy+.
If accepted this will be the first record of Mandt’s Guillemot for the Faroe Islands. A truly stunning bird.