When writing the last blog post I was at sea. While being out Yann Kolbeinsson warned me of yanks to come as a very promising low pressure was approaching. And even before getting back from the trip yanks turned up in Iceland. Soon Iceland gained pace and booked six or so American Warblers and Scotland also got a fair share of Americans.
As soon as I got home I packed my bag and headed to Suðuroy. My wife and kids are already back in Mongolia, so I am quite a free bird when it comes to birding. Suðuroy is the southernmost island on the Faroese archipelago. It is rather isolated and birds from both east and west can reach the island without being blocked from any direction. The island also has a history of hosting American birds like Tennessee Warbler, Buff-bellied Pipit and Rough-legged Hawk just to mention a few.
I spent four days on the island and as American birds kept being reported from Iceland excitement grew. The prospects of finding something where certainly there. And I did find some good birds. Barred Warbler, Common Rosefinch, a beautiful adult Rosy Starling and good numbers of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and a few Lesser Whitethroats.
But the yanks avoided me. Then a question came to mind. Should I be disappointed? I actually used quite some time thinking about. A Danish birder and biologist called Morten D.D. Hansen said on a TV-show that birding is like chronic disappointment with a few highlights that make all the disappointment go away.
Well, in a way he is right. Most birders dream of a Black-throated Grey Warbler, Black-tailed Gull or Grey´s Grasshopper Warbler. Finding a mega or a new to WP would really be something. But this kind of result-oriented birding does in deed carry a lot of disappointment. Because, well, we rarely find one of those birds. It requires a lot of luck, patience and skills. It is easier to fuel your car in the UK than finding a new to WP – and that says something. But my birding on Suðuroy was awesome. It was pure excitement. Always the prospect of something cool. I really enjoyed the birding as I didn’t use a result-oriented but an experience-oriented approach. And frankly if birding on the Faroes this should be the approach – and doing it long enough will yield results as well!
And maybe I did find a yank after all. On the beach in Sandvik I had a small calidris together with Dunlins, Sanderlings and Common Ringed Plovers. I took a few distant photos to document the bird. But as I climbed down the hill towards the beach the flock took off and to my utter horror they headed out of the bay not to be seen again. The distant pictures seem to suggest Semipalmated Sandpiper…
After returning from Suðuroy I have done my normal birding on the Northern Islands and Eysturoy. On Svínoy I found a cracking Greenish Warbler, which showed amazingly well. It is the third record for the Faroes. I also found the first a few years back.
Svínoy also had an estimated 20 Tree Sparrows. It seems like the species is gaining a foothold on the Faroes after being gone for more than a century and re-establishing itself during the last years.
Other birds that I have found during the last few days include two Barred Warblers, Common Rosefinch, Eurasian and Blyth´s Reed Warbler, several Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats, good numbers of Brambling and Chaffinch, a few Chiffchaffs and several Willow Warblers.
Finally the first Yellow-browed Warbler was in Àrnafirði on the 1st of October, five were on Svínoy on the 2nd, and two on Viðareiði on the 3rd. So a total of eight in three days. Not bad. Prime time for autumn birding has kicked in. Let us see what October has to offer.
The picture of the Eurasian Reed Warbler seem to be better for Blyth’s Reed Warbler : plain tertial and alula, relatively short prilmary projection and i’m pretty sure to see 2 emarginations on the left wing…