Friday, 18 September 2015

Værøy 2015 day 3

Well today didn’t live up to expectations despite there being cloud cover overnight and some drops of rain in the air. Nordland which we bird between dawn at 0630 and breakfast at 0830 had much fewer birds and the only warbler was a Chiffchaff. There were also very few birds in the air and little sign of any new birds having arrived except for 2 Coal Tits which were moving quickly through the bushes heading east suggesting that they had overshot Værøy during the night and had reoriented and had come in from the west.

The south of the island had a bit more to offer and today we breached double figures for Yellow-browed Warbler with 11 birds seen. Coal Tits totalled 20 birds which is a significant arrival and they were all very noisy unlike most of the warblers which we had to work hard to find. We had 13 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers and a Blackcap. Sylvia warblers have been very scarce this year and I have still to see Lesser Whitethroat or Barred Warbler which are normally regular here. The only obvious new bird of the day was a single Pied Flycatcher although there were now 2 Hawk Owls. The Great Grey Shrike was still present although I’ve received feedback that it is well within the variation of Scandinavian breeding birds so nothing really points to it being homeyeri although I do think the bird is quite different to ones I am used to seeing.

We had a very interesting warbler which we had at first taken to be a worn adult Chiffchaff but simultaneously both John and I were watching it again and got a feeling of Bonelli’s. We watched it for a long time but couldn’t see a bright rump but neither did we hear it call and just felt perplexed as to what it was. Eventually though after over half an hour it did call and revealed it to be a Chiffchaff but it was a very strange bird (see pictures).

We found a Jack Snipe in flight which came at us along the road before swerving away from John and landing close by. We were unable to locate it on the ground but it flew up just a couple of metres from our feet.

John has left now so I will be birding the island on my own for the next two days. Winds tomorrow are switching to NW which doesn’t sound ideal except for some seawatching but there will be rain so maybe there will a fall of passerines aswell – always the optimist!
Yellow-browed Warbler (gulbrynsanger)

Hawk Owl (haukugle)

Hawkie in natural habitat

very dodgy Chiffchaff but in the end call gave it away. It was also constantly tail wagging normal Chiffchff manner. I found the pale bill especially unusual.

Pied Flycatcher (svarthvit fluesnapper)

female juvenile Ruff (brushane)

Wigeon (brunnakke)

another Wigeon

1cy Merlin (dvergfalk)

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