Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Waves in Sumba

From the 11th to the 13th November I visted Suðuroy along with Jórun Pólsdóttir. Our goal was to continue writing a field guide to the birds of the Faroes and also do some birding.

As we took the ferry from Tórshavn to Suðuroy we saw both an adult Kumlien’s Gull and a pod of dolphins.

Kumlien´s Gull

White-sided Dolphin?

Birding on Suðuroy was nice as there are still good numbers of birds around. This is probably due to the exceptionally warm temperatures lately.

In Hvalba we found a late Lesser Black-backed Gull, which showed nicely.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

In Famjin we found a Song Thrush and a male Common Merganser along with Siberian Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Common Merganser

Sumba stole the headlines as so many times before. The southernmost village of the Faroes is just awesome when it comes to birding. Common Crossbill, four Siberian Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps and a Goldfinch were all nice.


It was rather windy and observing the waves was stunning. Grey Seals seemed to enjoy the waves and several animals were seen well.


Grey Seal

Grey Seal


As I walked along the shore I flushed a wagtail, which landed about 50 meters away. It looked like a juvenile Yellow Wagtail. Soon I got better views and was able to observe a long hind-claw, lack of any yellow color and a short, sharp metallic call. It surely had an eastern feel to it.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

In the brisk winds it was hard to get any good recordings, but I managed to get some flight calls recorded. Henrik Bohmer was able to make a sonogram. It spite of the bad quality of the recording it seems to fit Eastern Yellow Wagtail quite nicely.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail sonogram –
First two are Eastern Yellow Wagtails. Then ssp Beema and the fourth being the Sumba bird

I sent some pictures to Yann Kolbeinsson in Iceland, who encouraged me to collect droppings. So rather than getting good pictures I observed the bird from the distance until it eventually littered. I collected the droppings and Rasmus Strack from Denmark is currently helping me sorting out how to get the sample safely analyzed.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

If accepted as an Eastern Yellow Wagtail it will be the first record for the Faroes. And it will be my fifth self-found wagtail species of the autumn as I’ve already found Yellow, White, Grey and Citrine Wagtail this autumn. Hopefully Forest Wagtail will be next.

The Steller’s Eider was also still present in Sumba.

Steller´s Eider


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