BIRDS IN NÓLSOY AND FAROE ISLANDS
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PLASTIC IN SEABIRDS

List of rare birds in Faroe Islands

Oil-contaminated guillemot Uria aalge Nólsoy 22.02.2017
Uria aalge Uria aalge Uria aalge
This is how you look, when you swim in the cleanest sea in the world ...
Baldvin Jacobsen captured this guillemot in the port of Nólsoy in the morning and carried it up to Jens-Kjeld, who euthanised it. We can only guess, how many other oil-contaminated birds are swimming in the waters around the Faroe Islands, as most die at sea. But it is quite common to hear of oiled birds, especially on the east side of the Faroe Islands.
This is not acceptable, but as long as the Faroe Islands does not introduce a demand for Faroese observers on all foreign fishing vessels, fishing within the 200 nautical mile limit, we will continue to see sad fates like this ...

NORTHERN FULMAR Fulmarus glacialis

Fulmarus glacialis

Fulmarus glacialis Fulmarus glacialis Fulmarus glacialis

The men on Nólsoy started catching the young Fulmars on sea as usual in late August 2016. On 23. August Marnar á Skúr caught the young Fulmar, seen on the pictures, west of Trøllhøvda. The young Fulmar was starved, since its one wing was wrapped in a nylon band.
We have never seen anything the like before, and we find it hard to believe, that anyone Faroese could have done this.
Why would anyone do this? Was the bird used as a bate? Or has someone just learned to tie knots and then kicked the bird out afterwards to a slow and agonizing death?

Regardless, this is animal cruelty at the worst…


GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus CONTAMINATED OF FISH FOOD

Larus marinus

Tórshavn 23.06.2016

Tórshavn 23.06.2016

Tórshavn 23.06.2016 Tórshavn 23.06.2016

Tórshavn 23.06.2016 Tórshavn 23.06.2016 Tórshavn 23.06.2016

Tórshavn 23.06.2016 Tórshavn 23.06.2016

Tórshavn 23.06.2016 Tórshavn 23.06.2016 Tórshavn 23.06.2016

Tórshavn 24.06.2016

Larus marinus Larus marinus


PLASTIC IN FULMARS

Jens-Kjeld & Franeker Plastic

In August-September 2015 Jan A. van Franeker visited Faroe Islands yet another time to collect materials for his examination about plastic is the Faroese fulmars.

Read more about plastic in fulmars

Live coverage of a dissection of a Faroese fulmar chick stomach


GREAT SKUA Stercorarius skua
Skúgvur / Stercorarius skua

New article shows, that the decline in the puffin colonies is not related to the increased population of Great Skuas, but due to lack of food and access of young birds in the puffin colonies.

Read the article


DO WE NEED ANY LAW SYSTEM IN THE FAROE ISLANDS?
Anser anser

Anser anser Anser anser

Vágar 28.06.2015
It is incredible, that nobody cares about the protection of the graylag goose, now they finally have returned after having been eradicated in nearly 200 years.
Despite all common sense, some farmers got permission to shoot graylag goose on their infield during the whole year, starting from 2014.
It is strictly forbidden to take the eggs from the graylag goose and hatch them, but despite this we see wing-clipped goslings wander around on various pieces of land every year. I could understand it, if it at least was kept hidden and maybe happened far away from where people pass by, but it is the opposite – these wing-clipped goslings walk around between the houses in the villages, where everyone can see them. It says a great deal about the respect for the police!
The photographs of these goslings were taken in Vágar, and as so many times before, it was not reported to the police, since the photographer was afraid of the consequences. Instead he sent them to me.
Anser anser
Tvøroyri, Suðuroy 31.05.2014

BOAT TOUR AROUND NÓLSOY
Nýggjurð, Nólsoy

Urðin & Hergeir Jacobsen Kapilin Kópur / Grey seal

15.06.2015 I sailed a tour around Nólsoy with Hergeir and Marnar á Skúr.
We did not see any puffin fly or on land on the entire trip around the island, and there were only between 100 and 200 puffins on the water.
The only place we saw terns was on Tjørnunes, where there were maybe 100 in total. All the other places where there used to be terns, there were between 0 and 3 terns.
Otherwise we saw about 10 pairs of Black-backed Gull, some few guillemots and 4 gray seals.

Borðholið

5 FAROESE BIRDS ARE ON THE EUROPEAN RED LIST OF ENDANGERED BIRDS

Lundi / Fratercula arctica grabae Náti / Fulmarus glacialis

Apart from puffin and fulmar, eider, oystercatcher and kittiwake has also ended on the list

Æða / Somateria mollissima faeroeensis Tjaldur / Haematopus ostralegus Rita / Rissa tridactyla

The European Red List


A CLEVER CROW Corvus corone cornix
Corvus corone cornix

Corvus corone cornix Corvus corone cornix

We all know that a crow is wise, but I did not expect, that it would be directly smart. This crow was sitting in our garden the other day and mingled with a fat ball for the garden birds. Suddenly I noticed, that the crow had turned the hook upwards, so that fat ball was at the top instead of hanging underneath. I took some photographs, and when I watched them later I could see, that the clever crow was winding the net as the fat ball got smaller.


Dunna Anas platyrhynchos domestica + Æða Somateria mollissima faeroeensis

Hybrid

This is the result of a love affair between an Eider and a domestic Duck in Kollafjørður, Streymoy 04.04.2004

STARVING AND DEAD LITTLE AUKS Alle alle

Alle alle Alle alle Alle alle

In December 2014 several dead Little Auks has been found. Most of them were young birds from last summer, and they have all died of hunger.
When there are strong winds for several days in a row, the Little Auk has difficulties finding enough food and many of them do not survive.
We must go back to the winters of 1997-98 to say, that it was common to find dead Little Auks on Nólsoy; but the other day 6 were found.
It is very common for the Little Auk to come on shore, when it is dying from hunger - as if it is afraid of drowning. Therefore, one can find dying or dead birds miles away from the coast. When you find them, they often look round and fat, but the reality is the opposite - they puff up their feathers because they are cold, since they have lost their body fat from the starvation.

Alle alle Alle alle


MACKEREL FILLED WITH SAND EELS

Makrelur / Makrel / Mackerel

Makrelur / Makrel / Mackerel Makrelur / Makrel / Mackerel Makrelur / Makrel / Mackerel

06. September 2014 Marnar Gaard was fishing with fishing line on Skálavíksgrynnuni, but he could barely get the fishing line down to the cods, because there were so many mackerel. The mackerels were full of sand eels, which can be seen in the pictures. It was the appropriate size for puffin chicks, but has come at least 2 month to late.

Few puffin chicks were seen in 2014, but as late as 30. September Esbern í Eyðansstovu observed two puffin chicks, which were on the way down to the sea.

Nebbasild / Tobis / Sand eels Nebbasild / Tobis / Sand eels


EMPTY NESTS IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC
Lundi / Fratercula arctica grabae
"Similar trends are reported in Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, and across the circumpolar north—the principal nursery for Northern Hemisphere marine birds. Most of the biome's species, the 2013 Arctic Biodiversity Assessment finds, are in decline"...

Read the very interesting article


WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus
Whooper Swan / Cygnus cygnus
The Swan couple on Gróthúsvatn on Sandoy had 5 young's. 02.07.2014 all of the young's dissapeared at the same time. Left was the male swan with an injured wing.
08.07.2014 we went to Gróthúsvatn to check the situation and we immediately saw, that the male walked along with a broken wing. Most likely the Swan male has tried to defend the young's and has either been shot or beaten so hard, that the wing broke. Thereafter he has suffered from a broken wing for at least 1 week. We immediately contacted the police in Tórshavn, and they promised to kill the swan, since he will never be able to fly again
Very sad, because swans are monogamous and stay together for life ...

Update: We did not believe our eyes when we 31.7.14 again visited Sandoy and again saw the swan with the broken wing. The police put a man in charge to deal with the matter three weeks earlier; but the task may have been too great?

The Faroese forester Tróndur Leivsson, was just as dismayed as we, but he promised to take care of the matter and he shot the swan 05. August.

Whooper Swan / Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan / Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan / Cygnus cygnus


RINGING SHAGS Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Svartiklettur

Jens-Kjeld Jensen Jens-Kjeld Jensen

Johannes Simonsen Phalacrocorax aristotelis Johannes Simonsen

Svartiklettur Poul Johannes Simonsen & Johannes Poul Johannes Simonsen, Johannes & Kenneth Justesen On Svínoy

On 25. June 2013 Poul Johannes Simonsen, his son Johannes, Kenneth Justesen and Jens-Kjeld Jensen were in 3 different "urð" – which is a great accumulations of rocks, that has fallen off a steep hillside - to count and ring young shags. There were few fledglings to see and only 4 young and 1 adult was ringed. As usual we also found four nests with eggs. The result looks better than last year, when almost none youngs were fledged.


ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus WITH YOUNG
Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus

Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus

Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus Kjógvi / Stercorarius parasiticus

07.10.2013 we were up north in search of Pseudorchis albida (L.) Á & D. Löve. Then we came across this arctic skua, who did everything to lure us away from the young.

ONLY THE STRONGEST SURVIVES

Tjaldur / Haematopus ostralegus Tjaldur / Haematopus ostralegus Tjaldur / Haematopus ostralegus

The other day we saw this oystercatcher male who protected his death partner. The female had been dead for 1-2 days and had brood patches, so the nest must have been nearby. Great skuas or skuas had bitten the female - either while it was on the nest or after it was dead.

THE PUFFIN IS PROTECTED ON NÓLSOY IN 2013
Lundi / Fratercula arctica grabae
On a meeting named "grannastevna", which is general meeting for all landowners, held in Nólsoy 05. April 2013, a majority agreed to protect the puffin from hunting in 2013 - or in 1 year from now.

UNUSUAL MANY DEAD BIRDS FOUND ON SUÐUROY
On 24. July 2012 people found around 40 dead Lesser Black-backed gulls in an area of app. 70 metres on Tvøroyri on Suðuroy. The day eftir - 25. July, we found 1 dead Lesser Black-backed gull and 1 accurate dead young Herring gull on the beach in Trongisvágur. The case is investigated at the moment, but the 2 birds, we found, did not die from hunger.

Lesser Black-backed gull Herring gull


COUNTING THE STORMPETRELS IN THE COLONY ON NÓLSOY
Jens-Kjeld Jensen and people from the Faroese Zoological museums have started to count the number of Storm petrels in the colony on Nólsoy. These pictures are from the 19th July 2012.
Leivur Janus Hansen & William Simonsen
Leivur Janus Hansen & William Simonsen Jóhannis Danielsen Leivur Janus Hansen & William Simonsen Leivur Janus Hansen & William Simonsen

RINGED CROW CHICKS

Erik Mortensen The crow nest The crow nest

02. June 1992 Jens-Kjeld Jensen and Erik Mortensen went for a walk around Toftavatn. There they found a crow's nest with 4 chicks which they ringed. Late April this year one of those ringed crows was found dead in Rituvík - 19 years and 11 months after it was ringed. It was found 3 miles from the place where it was ringed as a chick nearly 20 years ago.

WE DID NOT MANAGE TO GET THE PUFFIN PROTECTED IN 2012 - A REAL DISASTER!

Nólsoy 23.06.2009 Nólsoy 23.06.2009 Nólsoy 23.06.2009

Nor in 2012 did we manage to get puffins protected. The politicians only think about mackerel. To make the situation even worse it is reported, that permission might be given to catch mackerel with gill nets along the coast. In Iceland approximately 120.000 birds die in the gill nets annually, but perhaps our politicians are thinking in a long term? In case the authorization is given, there are good opportunities to get both Puffins and Red-throated diver served at the Faroese dinner tables this summer.

A SAD WAY TO DIE

Eider / Somateria mollissima faeroeensis with the remains of a dried sheep's leg around the neck Eider / Somateria mollissima faeroeensis with the remains of a dried sheep's leg around the neck

Sheep legs are usually hung up to dry in a string. After that this was eaten, people have thrown it out without thinking of taking the rope off. This eider had the misfortune of getting the loop around the neck and the 2 bones were too heavy a burden for it.

NEWS FROM ICELAND

Unbelievable, but while Iceland is experiencing its worst economic crisis ever, the politicans nevertheless recognized the need to undertake some research to illustrate the situation with the Icelandic seabirds. They also found the money for it. The study resulted in that a protection proposal is presented in Altingið, which is the Icelandic parliament.

Proposals for the protection of the seabirds
Law proposal to protect the Icelandic seabirds

The Faroese politicians could certainly learn something from their Icelandic colleagues!

 

Lomvigi / Uria aalge Jan Andries van Franeker & Jens-Kjeld Jensen Lundi / Puffin / Fratercula arctica grabae

Jan Andries van Franeker & Jens-Kjeld Jensen collecting dead seabirds on the beach in Streymnes, Faroe Islands May 2009

NEW INFORMATION ON THE ICELANDIC PUFFIN, THAT MOST LIKELY IS DOING BETTER THAN THE FAROESE ONE!

Jens-Kjeld ringing puffin chick in Mykines

Studies from Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland shows that 15% of all Icelandic ringed puffins are reported back. The study also shows that as many as 30% of these ringed birds are old breeding birds and that almost everyone has been caught in a ketcher and then killed by the bird catcher (Erpur Snær Hansen pers communication).
Additional Helgason's studies from 2012 show, that the mortality rate among breeding puffins is 12.7% in the Vestmannaeyjar against 7% on Røst in Norway (see Tycho Anker-Nissen figure below).
The catastrophic decline has led to the Icelandic Parliament is currently dealing with a new law on the preservation of the puffins in the 5 next years.

References:  

Erpur Snær Hansen Ph.D. Sviðstjóri Vistfræðirannsókna / Director of Ecological Research. South Iceland Nature Centre. Strandvegur 50, IS-900 Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland

Hálfdán H. Helgason: 2012. Survival of Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland during different life stages. M.S. thesis, Líf og umhverfisvísindadeild, Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið, Háskóli Íslands, Reykjavík, Ísland

Reed more about the suggested protection of the Icelandic puffin


DEAD SEABIRDS AND STRANGE BEHAVIOUR OF AUKS

Lundi / Puffin / Fratercula arctica grabae

According Mardik Leopold a unusual high number of dead puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars have driven ashore by the Netherlands in January 2012. All of the birds were completely starved and seems to have died of starvation. None of the dead puffins were ringed, so you can not say for sure where they came from. However, as seen in Fig. 1 a Faroese ringed puffin is earlier found dead in France, so there is every indication that at least some of the Faroese puffins are staying in the area of Holland in the winter.
This winther the Razorbills showed a very strange behaviour: they followed ships and were diving and presumably feeding in the wakes. We have seen ship-following Razorbills only very rarely in the SE North Sea. Now, thousands of birds must have been doing this, all at once, and over a very large area (thousands of km2).
We must hope that there are not too many Faroese puffins amongst these who died from hunger, as the annual "normal" rate of death then soon can reach 10-15%.

See the razorbills follow the ship

All foreign recoveries of puffins, ringed in the Faroes. Map: Sjúrður Hammer

Fig.1. All foreign recoveries of puffins, ringed in the Faroes.


COMPLETE NUMBER OF DEAD PUFFINS, FOUND IN THE NETHERLANDS

Puffins stay out in the open sea in the winter, therefore very few are found dead on the beaches. It's like the Danes say - only the "tip of the iceberg" - that runs on land. But in January 2012 1 dead puffin was found for every 5 miles of beach in The Netherlands, where one usually "only" find 1 dead puffin for every 100 km, so here there has been significant changes.

Read more about the dead birds found in The Netherlands

BAD NEWS FROM RØST, NORWAY

Puffin graph

This figure has been prepared by one of the world's leading Puffin experts Dr. Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Senior Research Scientist, NINA, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.
We have no studies of this kind in the Faroe Islands, but the figure that shows the development in the Puffin stock in Røst, Norway, in my belief - unfortunately, can be used to compare the development in the Faroese Puffin stock. We estimated the Faroese Puffin stock to be approximately 600.000 pairs for about 20 years ago, that is approximately the same as the Puffin stock in Røst, Norway, and our Puffin stock has gone down steadily ever since.
In the Faroes we would normally expect a slow decrease in the Puffin stock and mainly, if the Puffin suffers several years in a row with no chicks as in the late 7 years, but Tycho Anker-Nilssen calculations show, that "his" Puffins decline with 7% per year, as you can see on his prognosis. This means that the Faroese Puffins will be extinct around the year 2025 - or about in 12 to 15 years if the hunting goes on and it is not protected. I want to point out that Tycho Anker-Nilssen do not guess as there are really thorough studies behind his assessments.
Now it's up to the Faroese Minister for Fisheries Jákup Mikkelsen to decide, whether we should ignore the alarm from Tycho Anker-Nilssen and let the Puffin hunt continue as usual this summer?
Today, 19. January 2012 it seems that the Puffins are not preserved across the country, but only in places where the bird hunters are conscientious enough to keep “grannastevna” as on Mykines where they have decided not to catch any Puffin.

Grannastevna: Is when the locals themselves adopt decisions that are final, if you do not follow them you can be prosecuted.

Hunting statistics for the Puffin


RINGING COMMON GUILLEMOT YOUNG'S
Common Guillemot young / Uria aalge young
25.07.2011 Bjarki Henriksen, Hendrik Egholm, Atli Jensen, Sandoy, Sjúrður Joensen (í Koltri), Jens Jákup Hansen from the Faroese Television and I - Jens-Kjeld Jensen, went to "Steinin millum kjálkar - tað vil siga Koytukjálkar og Brekkukjálkar í Lonini á Sandoynni" to ring Common guillemot young's.

See the exceptional and unique photos and read more here


RINGING GREAT SKUA CHICKS

Sjúrður Hammer with a Great Skua chick / Stercorarius skua Great Skua / Stercorarius skua Sjúrður Hammer with a Great Skua chick / Stercorarius skua

Great Skua / Stercorarius skua Great Skua / Stercorarius skua Great Skua / Stercorarius skua Great Skua / Stercorarius skua

08.07.2011 I and Sjúrður Hammer went to Skúvoy to ring Great Skua chicks. In spite of mist and fog, sun and rain we managed to ring 12 chicks, which probably is app. 20% of the chicks on the island.

A MISMATCHED COUPLE
Anas platyrhynchos & Aix galericulata
Get lost - he's mine!

Anas platyrhynchos & Aix galericulata Anas platyrhynchos & Aix galericulata Anas platyrhynchos & Aix galericulata Anas platyrhynchos & Aix galericulata

Anas platyrhynchos & Aix galericulata

If this couple could have breed together, it would have meant severe damage for the Faroese nature - luckily they can't. They love each other a lot, so don't tell them :o)

IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?
Puffin export
Skúvoy 2011

THE FAROESE SEABIRDS ARE STARVING
Puffin / Fratercula arctica, Skálabotnur 23.05.2011
A disaster!

2011 seems to become the 7 year in a row with no food for the Faroese Puffin. Many Puffins were on land around 28. and 29. April but since then they have been gone, despite the Puffin normally lays their egg 20. May. 28. May large shoals of mackerels were in the fjord of Nólsoy. The plant plankton came to late and in very small amount, so there is no food for the small sand eel's.

See the scale from Havstovan (The Faroe Marine Research Institute)

The Puffins, Arctic Tern and Arctic Skua are likely facing starvation again in 2011.


PLASTIC IN FULMARS
Jan Andries van Franeker & Elisa Bravo Rebolledo 14.05.2011
Jan Andries van Franeker has visited Faroe Islands yet another time in 2011 in connection with plastic in Fulmars. It will be interesting to see, if the plastic amount has decreased or increased. This time Franeker was assisted by Elisa Bravo Rebolledo. We will update the result as soon as we know more.

See the very interesting photographs from their visit


PROTECTION OF THE PUFFIN
Lundi / Fratercula arctica
As early as 16.01.2011 I sent a request to our Foreign Minister Jákup Vestergaard to get the Puffin protected in a period of 3 years because of the big reduction in the population.
The local hunters have only caught breeding birds the last 7 years, since there haven't been any young's. This means an ever bigger reduction in the population than in normal bad breeding years. In some locations the local hunters have protected the Puffins from hunting, both not in all areas, therefore a complete protection is absolute necessary.
Since many reasons I did not get any respond from Jákup Vestergaard. Therefore I sent a new request for a meeting which took place 14.03.2011. I asked Bergur Olsen and Janus Hansen to attend the meeting, since they perhaps could supply with further information's, that could benefit my request.
It is to late to present any new law for the Faroese Parliament, but Jákup Vestergaard promised to do his best, so the Puffin could get protected the next 3 years. All we have to do now is wait and hope for the best together with the Puffins!

Hunting statistics for the Puffin


NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN...
Ring No. 8A62059 Ring No. 8A62059 Ring No. 8A62059
05. December 2006 Rúni Poulsen was working in his shed on Nólsoy, putting bait on a fishing line. Rúni noticed, that 6 Turnstone's had entered the shed, so he closed the door, so I was able to ring them all. One of the Turnstone's was ringed with ring No. 8A62059 and this specific bird has returned to the same spot on Nólsoy every winter since then. It was on the spot as well 02. February 2011, when a Merlin attacked from behind and killed it. The Merlin lost the Turnstone when Marnar á Skúr passed by, so he picked up No. 8A62059.

STORM PETREL Hydrobates pelagicus
Storm Petrel / Hydrobates pelagicus Jesper Johannes Madsen & Storm Petrel / Hydrobates pelagicus Storm Petrel / Hydrobates pelagicus
The Storm Petrel young's are fledged in around November month. These last days several young's are seen in for example the village in Nólsoy. The one, hold by Jesper Johannes Madsen on the photo, was caught 10.11.2010 near Sund. The Storm Petrel was ringed and released again in Kirkjubøur.

Storm Petrel / Hydrobates pelagicus Storm Petrel / Hydrobates pelagicus Storm Petrel / Hydrobates pelagicus


2010 – YET ANOTHER YEAR OF DISASTER FOR THE FAROESE PUFFIN

The Faroese puffin is not breeding for the sixth year in a row. Furthermore several old birds have died from starvation. The hunting season is about to start, but there have been almost none puffins in the colonies around the islands.
In case some of the old breeding birds will visit the colony to make ready for the next year I sincerely hope, that the hunters will use their common sense and not catch any puffin at all in 2010. The Faroese puffin is not yet protected by law, even though the future prospects are very bad for them.
Lundar / Lunder / Puffins.
There has been unusually many mackerels in the Faroese sea this year and many local fishermen around the islands believe, that they have eaten the size of the sand eels, that the Puffin normally feeds from.
Updated 15.07.2010
The few Arctic terns, that breed this summer, have left their eggs and youngs to die.
The Puffins are still absent in the big colony in Nólsoy, the other day only 5 Puffins were seen, and that is the highest number this summer!
The Kittiwakes were more optimistic and many started to breed, but their youngs are dying now.
NB: The situation seems to be the same in South- and West-iceland and on Røst in Norway.

Updated 04.08.2010
The Kittiwakes only had some few fledged young’s in 2010. The big question is, whether these young’s will manage through their first winter, since they are in a poor condition.
Karsten Larsen counted the young’s in a small colony in Mykines and the result was <0,15 young’s in each nest. In Viðoy there were <0,20 young’s in each nest.
Some of the lower nests in Mykines were washed away because of a sudden storm for a couple of days this summer; but that had no effect of the bad outcome.

Updated 12.08.2010
In Iceland they also believe, that the mackerel is eating all the food from the seabirds – read the interesting article


THE SEABIRDS ARE STARVING TO DEATH IN 2010
Nólsoy 29.05.2010
The Kittiwakes started fishing "krill" close to the village of Nólsoy already 28. April, and that is a very bad sign. A month later dead and half-dead Puffins drift ashore on the beaches with the on-shore wind. All of the Puffins seems to have died from starvation, and that match very well with what the people from the islands with bird colonies say - there are almost none birds in the colonies. Lundi / Puffin / Fratercula arctica grabae.

DILUTED RAVEN
Diluted Raven
A lot is written about the Faroese White-speckled Raven since the last was shot in 1902. Furtermore we know of one Faroese White-speckled Raven, dated 1910 and another from 1915; but these last two dates dates are probably not reliable.  

We know of at least 19 prepared samples from around the world. Among them is the Faroese stuffed Raven from the Leiden Museum in Nederland, held by Hein van Grouw on the photograph.
In the autumn of 2007 a diluted Raven was shot on Fugloy (see the photo of the stuffed one above). This Raven could not really fly, so the Craws bullied it all the time. Since then we have had several observations of diluted Ravens, seen a single time. Diluted birds usually have bad feathers, which don’t isolate them from the cold, so it is very likely, that they can’t survive a Faroese winter.
People have claimed to see White-speckled Ravens several times since the last was shot in 1902. One observation is from the winter in 1947, a second is from the autumn in 1948 on Nólsoy (Ryggi 1951) and finally the third is from around Easter 1965 near Sandvík (Nolsøe & Jespersen 2004).
If these 3 observations actually were White-speckled Ravens, then I must ask – why were they all only seen once? White-speckled Ravens have fine feathers and should be able to manage as well as the black Ravens. Also I find it very difficult to believe, that White-speckled Ravens have been flying around in the Faroes without being noticed. The oldest known ringed black Raven was 21 years and 11 months old, when the ring was read.
I am totally convinced, that all of the White-speckled Ravens, seen in the Faroes since 1902, must have been diluted Ravens.

Hein van Grouw

GANNET CHICKS CATCHING IN MYKINES SEPTEMBER 2009
Mykines 2. september 2009 Prepearing the rope It requires many men to drag the very heavy rope It requires many men to drag the very heavy rope Pulling up Esbern Only young grey gannet chicks are caught
Approximately 2400 pairs of gannets breed on Mykineshólmur, Píka- and Flatidrangur on Mykines and the population seems to increase. The late many years men from Mykines annually in average have catched 350 fledged grey gannet chicks, called "grásúla" in the end of August or start of September.
The night between 1. and 2. September 2009 men from Mykines again went to catch "grásúla" in Mykineshólmur and 4. September they went on Flatidrangur. The final result was 655 grey gannet chicks, that were equally divided between the landowners and the hunters.

The high number of grey gannet chicks fits very well with the big number of mackerel and in between also sand eels, that have been present around the Faroe Islands this summer. I therefore conclude, that the Faroese gannet population are doing fine in spite of the regularly catch of some chicks.


NOLSOY ISLANDERS RESCUING A GANNET
Gannet wrapped in net
The gannet is caught
The net is cut of and removed from the gannet
Released, happy and free from the net
Sadly it is getting more and more common to see birds trapped in all kind of waste. Very few of the birds are as lucky as this gannet, who was rescued by as many as 3 men from Nólsoy.

And we are even boasting about living in the cleanest sea of all...

Benny, Ba & Pedda 01.09.2009
THE BREEDING BIRDS ARE DYING!

Arctic tern chicks on Nólsoy and Kittiwake chicks on Mykines started to die from starvation on 20 July 2009. These seabirds seemed to have a successful breeding season in 2009, with plenty of sand eels late in June and during the first 14 days of July. Each time they returned from fishing, adult terns were bringing 2-4 sand eels to their chicks. However, there was a sudden change on 23 July, when parents spent more time at sea and only brought back a single sand eel to their chicks each time. As a result, Arctic tern and Kittiwake chicks have died in great numbers.

Marnar á Skúr collelecting dead Arctic tern chicks on Nólsoy.

In only one night, that between 23 and 24 July, 231 Arctic tern chicks died in the Nólsoy colony! Then, on the night between 24 and 25 July, 270 Arctic tern chicks died at the same place.

Today, 25 July, we observed Arctic terns feeding their chicks again on Nólsoy. The wind has changed to South and that might make it easier for them to catch sand eels. There are still approx. 100 live chicks in the Nólsoy colony. Today, I have been talking to people from all over the Faroe Islands and most of them said that the situation is the same all over.  However, a few said that the situation looks fine with very few dead chicks.

231 dead Arctic tern chicks.
This will be the fifth consecutive disastrous breeding season for Arctic terns, and this situation will almost certainly affect puffin breeding as well!

PALE STARLING CHICKS IN NÓLSOY AGAIN IN 2009
A normal coloured starling pair has had breeds of pale chicks three years in a row in Nólsoy: In 2007 they had 1 pale and 1 normal coloured chick, in 2008 they had 3 pale chicks, whereof the latest died in March 2009, and in 2009 they have 2 pale and 1 normal coloured chick.

You can see the father together with the triplets on one of these photographs from July this year. The quality of these pale feathers seem to be to poor for these chicks surviving a Faroese winter.


THE ARCTIC TERN ON NÓLSOY ARE HAVING A VERY FINE BREEDING SEASON IN 2009

The Arctic terns on Nólsoy seem to have a very fine breeding season in 2009. There are several hundred breeding pairs just North of the village, and many of the chicks are half-grown now, in mid July. The parents bring sand eels to their chicks continuously, carrying as many as four in the beak, when they return from fishing.


BIRD WATCHING IN THE FAROES
Jan Andries Van Franeker & Jens-Kjeld Jensen.
14.05.2009 Jan Andries Van Franeker and Jens-Kjeld went to Leirvík, Eysturoy, to look for fulmars.

See the very interesting photographs from their trip


HUNTING YOUNG FULMAR
In 2008 the first boats from Nólsoy went to hunt young fulmars 26. August. I expect the last hunting day to be approximately around 10. September, since the fulmar young ones seems to be very alike in size.
Many of the boats get between 100 to 300 fulmar young ones each day; but the boats from Hvannasund, which is situated very close to the biggest fulmar colonies, get as much as up to 900 young fulmars each day - but they have very fast boats.

The fulmar in the Faroes has decreased a lot during the last 20 years, so the number of young ones has equally decreased with app. 50 %. This means, that the number of caught young fulmars is getting lower and lower each year.

In the photographs above you can see the brothers Brynjálvur and Finnbogi from Nólsoy hunt young fulmars in very fine weather east of Nólsoy 28.08.08.

A WELCOME TO THE "TJALDUR" - OUR NATIONAL BIRD
Tjaldur, deytt í hafti / Strandskade, død af uld om benene / Oystercatched wrapped in wool and dead. Tjaldur, deytt í hafti / Strandskade, død af uld om benene / Oystercatched wrapped in wool and dead.
Photographs from Nólsoy 03.08.08

“Tjaldur ver vælkomið til okkum heim”...

This is the very beautiful hymn, that we sing in the Faroe Islands each spring to welcome our national bird "tjaldur" – the Oystercatcher, back to our islands to breed.
And we really missed you and were well prepeared to welcome you, our long missed national bird...

As usual, wool from sheep was laying all over the field, so that you could warm your feet… Also, there was plenty of nylon, which gave strength to the wool, that cut the bones in your legs... In case it wasn’t enough, we even left plenty more rubbish to welcome you – various wires and ropes, rusty fence rolls, and even barbed wire. Don’t even think about complaining about our welcome. You - our long missed national bird…


Nólsoy 17. July 2008
Ternupisa / Havterneunge / Arctic tern pullus.
Skúgvur í ternubøli í Nólsoy / Storkjove i ternekoloni på Nólsoy / Great skua in an Arctic tern colony in Nólsoy.
Deyð ternupisa / Død havterneunge / Dead Arctic tern pullus.
Æða á reiðri / Edderfugl på rede / Eider's nest.
One of the few alive Arctic tern pullus in Nólsoy seeking hide.
A lonely hungry Great skua feeding in the Arctic tern colony from eggs and dead pullus.
A very sad scene through the last many years...

The eider seems to manage?


The puffins in Nólsoy are protected from 15. June 2008 till 15. June 2010
Bólstaður, Nólsoy. Urðin, Nólsoy. Urðin, Nólsoy. Urðin, Nólsoy.
15. June 2008 the landowners of the 3 separate parts of Nólsoy agreed to protect the puffin for the next 2 years. This means, that there will be no puffin catching in the main colony, situated in Urðin. Still it is allowed to catch a very limited amount of puffins in Nýggjurð, which is located North of the old Urð.
The main reason to protect the puffin is, that they have had a very poor breeding success in the past 4 years. Furthermore the Urð, where the main puffin colony is situated, had a severe damage during the breakers from North-East on the night between 29. February - 1. March 08. Apart from many nest's being destroyed, 5 of 12 hunting seats were destroyed and 2 had severe damage.
The photographs above were taken right after the breakers, and it is easy to see the damage in the puffin colony in the Urð in Nólsoy. The photograph below is from Nýggjurð.
Nýggjurð, Nólsoy.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

On 9 March 1998, I ringed 5 turnstones in Nólsoy’s harbour, one of them with ring number 8864314. During the following 10 winters, I have seen ringed turnstones in the exact same location, without any luck in catching them. However, on 21 March 2008 - almost exactly 10 years later - my friend Hans Eli Sivertsen was in Nólsoy with his camera. On that day he took several good quality photographs of one of "my" turnstones, to the extent that we were able to read the number of the ring and confirm, that it was one of the birds I had ringed. This and earlier observations of ringed turnstones in the Faroe Islands indicate, that these turnstones probably breed in North Greenland or as far as Ellesmere Island.

Arenaria interpress

Bad prospects for the birds in 2008!
15. January 2008 Meinhard Hansen found 5 dead puffins in Funningsbotni, who had all died from starvation, and the day after he found 1 more.
18. januar Hans Eli Sivertsen found 9 dead starved puffins on the little pier in Lamba.
25. January Marnar á Skúr found 1 old starved puffin in Nólsoy, who died the same night.
27. January I myself found a starved old puffin in Nólsoy.
From the size of the puffins I will judge them to be of Norwegian origin.
From late in October until mid of November 2007 there were unbelievably many razorbills near the shores, but they disappeared as suddenly as they had arrived. And the guillemots, who normally are very common in the Faroese waters in the autumn, have not been here at all. Also we have seen very few Iceland and Glaucous gulls.
Marnar á Skúr.

Neckbanded Greylag Goose
This is the second observation of neckbanded Greylag Goose in Faroe Islands. Rodmund á Kelduni observed and photographed this orange ANC marked goose in Sørvágur, Vágoy 18.10.07.
Anser anser.
Bob Swan, who ringed the Greylag Goose as an adult male in Scotland 30.11.2003, also ringed Guillemots in Isle of Canna, whereof several has been reported back from Faroe Islands.
The Greylag Goose male probably breeds in Iceland although he has never been observed there.
Here are the locations, where the Goose has been observed, since it was ringed.
COANCH - Lintrathen Loch, Tayside, Scotland - 30-11-2003
COANCH - Easter Rarichie, Balintore,Rossshire - 19-12-2004
COANCH - Easter Rarichie, Balintore,Rossshire - 26-12-2004
COANCH - Rennibister, Firth, Orkney - 10-11-2005
COANCH - Hackland, Rendall, Orkney - 28-12-2005
COANCH - The Loons, Orkney - 25-11-2006
COANCH - Isbister, Orkney - 14-03-2007
COANCH - Ytri Suðurtriðingur, Vágar, Faeroes - 18-10-2007

Growing concerns for seabird populations in Nordic Seas

Large scale, climate related ecological changes have disrupted the food web of marine birds in Nordic waters. Over recent years, a decreasing number of birds have shown up in the colonies, and local populations are in trouble with few chicks being raised. Comprehensive and complex changes are now happening in the marine ecosystem, underlining more than ever the need to manage all other factors which affect seabirds such as commercial fisheries, oil spills, seabird harvest and environmental pollutants. This is the conclusion from a group of seabird experts that met in the Faeroe Islands in 2007.

Read the Press Release for more details PDF

Tore Høyland
Informasjonsrådgiver, Direktoratet for naturforvaltning
(Adviser, Directorate for Nature Management)
Tlf.: +47 73 58 06 28, mobil: +47 99 39 60 25

http://www.dirnat.no

Rødnebbterne - Copyright: Morten Ekker

A very interesting "cranium" site: The Seabird Osteology Pages

Many young starlings are ringed in the Heligoland trap on Nólsoy every year. Notice, that the Faroese young Starling is very dark in the colour - it is because it belongs to the subspecies Sturnus vulgaris faroensis. press to enlarge. Sturnus vulgaris faroenisis.

Mikkjal hunting old Fulmars Mikkjal hunting Fulmars
Mikkjal was hunting old Fulmars with a catcher with net 1. September 2008. One of the birds was ringed as a pull in 1999 by Marnar Gaard on the position south of Fugloy.

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Títlingskongur / Fuglekonge / Regulus regulus.
Goldcrest breeds very rarely in the Faroe Islands, but it is a regular visitor in the spring and autumn.
The male on the photo was caught in the Heligoland trap on Nólsoy and flew away again with a ring on its leg!

"TJALDUR VER VÆLKOMIÐ TIL OKKUM HEIM"
This is a very beautiful hymn which the Faroe Islanders sing each spring to welcome their national bird "tjaldrið" - GB Oystercatcher, welcome back to the islands to breed. Unfortunately a lot of Oystercatchers die each year because of their feet get wrapped in wool, left from the sheep in the field, and different kind of ropes - including nylon!
Even though many articles have been printed in the local papers about the problem during the last many years, it has had no affect at all! It seems to be very difficult to get the farmers to clean their fields - although it is their responsibility!
Also ringing of the Oystercatcher seems to make the problem bigger. If an Oystercatcher has a ring on its leg, it will more likely be wrapped in wool. BTO (British Thrust of Ornithology) is ringing a lot of Oystercatchers each year, and despite of countless requests, we haven't been able to persuade BTO to put the ring above the tibio- the tarsal joint, or the tibia - to avoid the ring being filtered in for example wool.
This beautiful Oystercatcher died the day after it was released from the wool and nylon surrounding its legs - as so many before.
Let's hope, that the responsible land owners notice these pictures...

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Stiðjabarmur på Nólsoy d. 17.07.04 at 8 pm.
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Stiðjabarmur on Nólsoy d. 07.07.04 at 8 pm.
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The Puffin has arrived, but it is much to early to estimate the situation

The Puffins had a bad season in 2004. They breed late, and the few pulls were fledged late in August.
Altogether 5000 Puffins were caught with ketcher on Nólsoy, and the last hunting day was 28. July.
press to enlarge. The local hunter Torlakkur with his fledge of Puffins. press to enlarge. The local hunter Torlakkur with his fledge of Puffins
The most of the breeding seabirds on the Faroe Islands have had a very bad breeding season in 2003. The most probable reason is a lack of food. Most of the Puffins left the islands already July 17, which is 2-3 weeks earlier than normally!
The most of the pulls of Arctic Tern died in the biggest colony on Nólsoy July 26, and all of them died from starvation.
The situation has been almost the same in the whole North Atlantic - including Iceland, Norway and Shetland.
Worth to mention is, that the Sandeels disappeared in the North Sea already July 9.

lomviegg.jpg (37426 byte)
Guillemot eggs
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