Spring migration was much delayed due to the coldest May on record, but we have had significant late arrivals of migrants during the first two weeks on June. On the morning of the 8th I found a skulky Marsh Warbler at Viðareiði along with several more common migrants. That was a promise of more to come so I went birding with 10 year old Elias Lützen, who had the day off from school.
We decided to check Millum Fjarða, where a Little Egret had been photographed. Sadly we didn´t see the egret, so we continued to Eiði. The first surprise was a presumed Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrid.
Singing Lesser Whitethroat, singing Icterine Warbler and several Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers were also nice. Elias was also very pleased with a summer plumage Slavonian Grebe on the lake.
We then continued to check the most remote gardens. As we arrived I saw a small warbler with purely white belly and brown upper parts. I reacted to it right away, and the colours just shouted ”rarity”. After a while I got reasonable photos, but I was not sure if I was looking at an Iduna or a Phyllo. The plumage was worn and bleached. I posted some pictures on my FB-wall and also got some great personal comments from Yann Kolbeinsson and Magnus Hellström.
The conclusion was that it was a Bonelli´s Warbler. I had heard some chirp-like calls that I thought came from the bushes, where bird was foraging – but I was not entirely sure. I had to drive back home, but the next day I retuned to try to record the call.
The bird was still present in the same garden, and just 5 minutes after arriving it started calling eagerly with a chirp-like call. I was able to record the call and Magnus made a sonogram of it. He also compared it to the Eastern Bonelli´s Warblers. His comment was this: ”Songram 1 is your bird, 2 is from Greece and 3 from Cyprus. A good match. The frequency and length is spot on, and note that the sound consists of two parallel notes, like a double backslash, like this: \\ ”
This is the first record of Eastern Bonelli´s Warbler for the Faroes. It is a true rarity with only two Shetland reords and two records from Sweden. I don´t know the situation in Denmark or Norway – but surely one of the rarest birds I have found on the Faroes. I was also lucky enough to find the first Western Bonelli´s Warbler for the Faroes a few years back in Kunoy. This will be the 27th national first that I have found (or co-found).
On the way home I found a Black Redstart beside the road at Klaksvík. In is the 12th national record.
During the last few days Rosy Starlings have turned up in numbers. I´ve heard of 11 birds so far and I was lucky enough to see two at Viðareiði the other day.