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An Eastern Olivaceous Warbler in Iceland

In the afternoon of 15 September 2008 a local houselady at Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE-Iceland) reported a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla as well as an unknown, small bird in her garden to local birder Brynjślfur Brynjólfsson (normally called Binni). Fortunately, Binni had time to look at the bird and quickly realised that this was something very unusual. He was quickly joined by Björn Arnarson who was searching for vagrant passerines around nearby farms. After watching the bird for some time and taking photographs they came to the conclusion that this could only be an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida !! They quickly released photos on the internet which convinced three Reykjavķk birders, Gunnlaugur Žrįinsson, Sigmundur Įsgeirsson and Yann Kolbeinsson, to drive east in the evening and twitch the bird the following morning (16 Sept). Luckily the bird showed again very well in the same garden and while it was observed it almost constantly flicked its tail downwards and kept calling. This, as well as plumage features, confirm the identity of this Hippolais warbler. Later on its second day it could be twitched by two more birders coming from the west, Gunnar Ž. Hallgrķmsson and Hallgrķmur Gunnarsson. The bird remained in the area till 22 September.

Below are several photosgraphs taken during its stay as well as a sound-recording. In that same garden, the bird was kept company by one Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (14th Icelandic record), two Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, several Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus and Redwings Turdus iliacus while one Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus and a Wryneck Jynx torquilla (15th Icelandic record) stopped briefly.

This is Iceland's first-ever record of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler! And this is the fourth Hippolais species to be recorded in Iceland. Species previously recorded are Syke's Warbler H. rama (1 record), Icterine Warbler H. icterina (9 records) and Melodious Warbler H. polyglotta (1 record). We thank the householders for giving us access to the garden and Killian Mullarney for commenting on the identification. - YK/22/09/2008

- click on the photos to enlarge -


Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
19 September 2008

© Brynjślfur Brynjólfsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
19 September 2008

© Brynjślfur Brynjólfsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
19 September 2008

© Brynjślfur Brynjólfsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
16 September 2008

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
16 September 2008

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
16 September 2008

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
16 September 2008

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
16 September 2008

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
16 September 2008

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
15 September 2008

© Björn Arnarson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
15 September 2008

© Björn Arnarson

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Hęšagaršur, Nes (SE)
15 September 2008

Sound-recording (mp3 file, 645KB)
Meadow Pipits and Redwings can be heard in the background.

© Yann Kolbeinsson