In the last few days a lot of Common Chiffchaffs have been spotted in Iceland, especially in the South and the Southeast. These are birds who have been swept out to sea by strong winds from Western Europe, some of them coming from as far as Siberia. They are annual vagrants in Iceland.
There is some variations between birds from different parts of Eurasia. The European ones are more yellow than the Siberian ones and the birds from northerly regions are paler than the ones from the southerly regions.
In the last few days I have seen 19 Common Chiffchaffs in South Iceland.
The Common Chiffchaff is the second most common warbler seen in Iceland. They are vagrants here and most of them are seen in the autumn. Sometimes they manage to survive the winter and they are known to have bred here a few times. The Chiffchaff is a chubby little bird, a little bigger than the Wren.
Last weekend we saw six of them in several places along the Eyjafjöll Mountains, or under Eyjafjöll, as it is called in Iceland. In the last few weeks they have been seen in quite some numbers in Southeast and South Iceland. Now we just have to pray for a mild winter so our foreign guests will survive their visit up here.
Bird watching is an interesting pass time. There are not as many species to observe on an isolated island like Iceland, out in the North Atlantic Ocean, as there are on the mainland. But there are days when exotic birds are seen,some of which have come from afar. Today was such a day.
On my bird watching trip down to the shore I saw three vagrant bird species; Red-eyed Vireo from America, and Chiffchaff and Redstart from Europe. The Red-eyed Vireo and the Redstart were seen in a garden in the village Stokkseyri on the exact same spot that I saw a Red-eyed Vireo on September 30, last year. Strange coincidence that. The Red-eyed Vireo is one of the most common American vagrants in Iceland and I have seen five in the last few years.