Tag Archives: Spói

No berries for the Whimbrel

Spói – Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus

At this time of year Whimbrels have started gathering and some might even have left for their migratory flight. Here in the South the summer has been cold and no berries to be had but they are the major part of the Whimbrel’s diet by late summer. Quite a letdown since berries are a source of energy for their migratory flight. The North and East of Iceland are a different matter concerning berries but there the summer has been quite warm and sunny. Hopefully there will be enough insects and other stuff for the Whimbrels here in the South to feed on before they leave the country.

The Whimbrel is always quite prominent in the landscape with its long beak and unique voice. Its song is a loud rolling twitter, easily recognisable. In the mating time they also give a low whistle followed by a trill. Their winter grounds are south of the Sahara in West Africa.


The Whimbrel has arrived

Spói – Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus

The Whimbrel has arrived although not bringing with it the long awaited summer. We have had snow and hail in the last few days but hopefully that will not affect our newly arrived summer birds. The Whimbrel is  a long distance migrator and the winter grounds of the Icelandic Whimbrel are west of the Sahara in West Africa. The Whimbrels’ breeding grounds are in the Arctic, across America and Eurasia.

The Whimbrel usually arrives in Iceland in the beginning of May but this spring some had already arrived by the end of April. They are common in lowlands and in the breeding time the males try to catch the attention of the females by flying in circles, giving their loud, rolling twitter song. The Whimbrel is one of the migrants that has a place in the heart of every Icelander.

Whimbrel on a fence post

The Whimbrel is a wader, has long legs and a long  curved bill. It is a migratory bird, a symbol for the coming of summer. Its song is very special, – listen to it here.

Spói – Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus

The Whimbrels are quite common in Iceland and breed all over the country both in lowlands and highlands. The eggs are usually 3 or 4 and the parents both take responsibility for keeping the eggs warm.

Despite this the Whimbrel is one of the birds that are listed as a threatened species in the UK. It has the status Red which means that the species needs urgent action.

Spói – Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus

I came across this beautiful Whimbrel this morning in the Bird Reserve in Flói. Already the ones who did not breed are starting to flock and thinking about their long flight back to their winter grounds in Africa.

The Whimbrels come from Africa

Spói – Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus

Despite cold northerly winds the Whimbrels  (Numenius phaeopus) are coming to Iceland, ony by one. They come all the way from West Africa, south of the Sahara, where they have been since autumn. The Whimbrel is common in lowlands all over the country. The breeding population is estimated 250,000 pairs.

The pictures are taken by the seaside in Eyrarbakki yesterday. Whimbrels are not common by the seaside but this one was probably dead tired after its long flight from Africa.