Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Spent some time around the airport since eight of the remaining 13 birders were leaving. Now we are only five left on The Rock! A man approached me and asked if I was Olof Jönsson. He said he was reading my blog on a regular basis and that a lot of people in Corvo and the Azores was following it. He had gotten the address from the authorities he said! A big suprise for me and very funny to hear of course.
After the others left me, Bosse and David continued our birding around the village. After doing the shore and some fields for a few more hours I decided to go seawatching. On my way down I saw a small flock of gulls over the airfield and among them a small one - Ring-billed Gull! Managed to get a few record shots before the bird flew out to sea. Refound it soon in a flock of a few thousand Cory's feeding about 2 km out from the harbour. Not the best views as you can understand, but a new Yank and actually the first Yank I find in several weeks - good for my stamina!
Flores continues to produce and today they had Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Laughing Gull and some other good stuff. See all observations on http://www.birdingazores.com/ We tried to get boat tickets to go there tomorrow but we failed since the boat was cancelled. Perhaps best that way since I think the weather is going to be pretty crappy tomorrow.
European Whimbrel 3, Ring-billed Gull 1 1cy, Great Black-backed Gull 2, Turtle Dove 1
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This is the path along the shore south of the airfield. As you can see the waves and wind has produced a little bit of foam over the week:
Even if it was windy it wasn't raining this morning so I went up to the valleys to have a look in Cantinho. As usual flushed the two American Great Egrets with the car close to Fojo before stopping at Cantinho. Wind was shaking around the tree tops every now and then and due to rain during the night there was a steady flow (and thereby constant noise) in the stream in the valley. Spent four hours in there, doing it carefully, but didn't even see the Ovenbird that has been present in there for some time.
After lunch took my usual powernap but woke up as I got my face washed by a rain shower - have had more pleasent happenings in my life, I guarantee you! Did Poso de Agua for a few hours on my way back. I really, really like that place! But I haven't seen shit there... yet. Had a look for my buddy the juvenile Cory's in the bamboo stands and it was still there. It should leave any day now!
On my way back I checked out the Savannah Sparrow that has moved down from the reservoir mountain to the "pig fields" / "bean fields" or whatever you wanna call the place. Had great but brief views of this nice bird. While watching it a local stopped next to us with his car and told us that he'd seen a duck in the harbour earlier the same day. He desribed it as a small duck, mostly grey, with black on top of the head, and pointed at a female Common Scoter in the Collin's guide. Went down there to have a look for it but didn't find it. Only two Turnstones were hanging around.
The Black-and-white wasn't seen today despite search. That goes for the Parula as well. One Yellow-billed cuckoo was seen in the village and tomorrow all of us will try to clean up the village together since that hasn't been properly done by a big crew for a few days (because of the wind). Let's hope that weather allows us to at least have a look around!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Today winds were somewhat (but not much) nicer than the previous days and allowed five birders to leave the island. The crew is getting smaller and I think we are 13 left here now. The people who birded more seriously than me saw Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warble, Indigo Bunting and Savannah Sparrow. Nothing new though :( Maybe tomorrow!
Great Shearwater 4, Gannet 1 1cy, Leach's Petrel 1, Great Skua 1, Purple Sandpiper 1, Common Tern 6, Northern Wheatear 1
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Picked the bird up and walked down towards the sea. Along the way we found another one and then bumped into the SPEA guy who was glad to take the Cory's. Went back with him to their (he's got two nice female collegues as well) place and put the both shearwaters there over night. Tomorrow they will ring the birds and release them in the sea. Visit their blog here: http://lifecorvo.blogspot.com/
Cagarro boxes provided by the government
Black-and-white Warbler 1, Red-throated Pipit 1, Snow Bunting 1, White-rumped Sandpiper 1 1cy
Monday, October 26, 2009
Walked back slowly and had lunch below do Vinte. Lunch includes powernap nowadays so after an hour I was ready to go birding again. Kicked around in da Ponte for a few hours in the afternoon. Only a few rain showers and not very much wind made the place quite birdable actually. Bumped into the Black-and-white Warbler two times. It has been there 22 days now! Walked over the fields close to the cliff edge on my way back but only found the common breeding birds, a lot of cows and the odd horse. Still waiting for a Cliff or Tree Swallow to turn up there!
Me about to be struck by a BIG wave yesterday. Picture by Vincent Legrand.
Six birders left and five arrived today. Ten should have left but the wind was to strong for the plane to land on Flores (winds are from W and the airstrip on Flores is S-N) so people had to stay here. Winds will settle somewhat tomorrow I think so then it's time to find a new, good bird again! Stuff must have arrived with the last days minor storm. I'm gonna hit Ribeira do Vinte with Fred!
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today was a relax day for me. Had a really good nights sleep, continued with a 1½ hour long breakfast with loads of coffee and finally finished my chill with a few hours computer work so now I have almost cought up with my harvest of emails. The winds was super ultra mega strong today so birding was very difficult, accept deep in the valleys on the sheltered eastern side of the island.
Took a walk with Vincent around the village during late afternoon and managed to see a Yellow-billed Cuckoo despite the wind. Continued down to the western shore to have a look at the great scenery with the waves crashing against the lava beaches. Very impressive stuff!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Flushed two American Great Egrets (and a juvenile Grey Heron) in the morning at Ribeira da Poso de Agua. Two new birds or has the bird from the Caldeira gone out? It was in the Caldeira yesterday...
Also saw the Chimney Swift hunting over around Poso de Agua and Fojo during the first half of the day.
Birded Fojo below the lower road and after some pisching I heard a very sharp and loud "ZIPP!" close to me. Out from a bush popped an Ovenbird, at the exact same place where Rafa found it a few weeks ago! Probably the same bird that has spent some time in Fojo during the last two weeks and that now has found its way back to its first home on Corvo, or...?
Continued birding Cancelas and Cantinho below the road and also checked the middle parts of Cancelas before I started walking back in the very strong wind. Tried to bird da Ponte but it was to windy there, even in the very bottom of the valley! Also slipped as usual in da Ponte but this a bit harder than normal. Lost grip totally with both feet at the same time and slided down the slope for a bit before hitting a small tree with my groin - ouch! =/
Ended the day at the windmill with some seawatching that produced a Gannet and some Great Shearwaters. Tried to string a Manx for a while but it turned out to "just" be a Great.
Tomorrow we are getting a new hit from a pretty deep low pressure (see below). Hope it isn't to windy for birding just... the waves are supposed to be about 9 m high!
After eating at the windmill yesterday (don't ask me why we went there!) we were back at the Bandits' today! Home sweet home! No chocolate pudding thugh :(
Gannet 1 1cy, Great Shearwater 7, Pale-bellied Brent 1, American Great White Egret 2, Grey Heron 1 1cy, Chimney Swift 1, Ovenbird 1
Friday, October 23, 2009
Started in the Caldeira today with Fred, Rene, Jacob, Daniele and Hannu. On our way there we saw the newbie American Great White Egret on a field below Fojo in the morning. Found a new species for Corvo in the crater, but not a very exciting one; Garganey.
Other ducks in the crater included a bunch of Mallars, the Pintail, a Black Duck hybrid, the two Ringnecks and their new homie a male Tufted Duck. About 20 Common Snipe kept us alert as did a Grey Heron. The American Great Egret (the oldie) was also still around as usual.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Weather is looking promising. Thanks to a low pressure moving out a few days ago we've been getting westerlies for the last three days. And more is on the way...
Tomorrow we'll try to go to the Caldeira!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Went down to the village to say bye to Simon, Eric, Pierre and the others before I went up to the mountain again to gie the Sparrow another try. When I got up there the fog disappeared and I got about an hour of clear weather which produced two Red-throated Pipits and the two Dotterels.
After a while I heard a car coming and out jumped about eight other birders who had decided to give the Sparrow another go. It didn't take long before David had relocated the bird, but then the fog started to come in again and only Hannu got to see the bird. NOT good! Anyway, after another 15 minutes or so of nervous waiting we all had gotten good views of the bird in the fog. Jadang!
On the way back we bumped into Staffan Rodebrand and Rich Bonser who were looking for the Northern Parula at the power plant. The bird gave som absolutely excellent views at dusk. Definately the best looking bird out here so far this autumn!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Simon immediately tried to phone Pierre (but failed) and started to walk towards the place. Since I had seen one last year in Cantinho I walked back a few hundred meter and radioed out the news to the others in the northern valleys before I left. Soon we met Swedish birder Stefan Ettestam who had found the bird (new point to Sweden Pete!!!) and he explained where the bird was and even showed me some pictures of it. Moments later a car passed us and we got a lift all the way to the site - perfect! It didn't take us long before Martin relocated the bird. And what a bird! And what views! Birders continued to drop in and soon everyone had seen the bird - fantastic since we are almost 30 birders here now!
Monday, October 19, 2009
I started the day on Pico to look for the White-eyed Vireo. Got about 1½ hours of birding before the rain came, which produced biref views of an American Redstart. After sitting in the rain for almost three hours we all walked back, totally soaked, without any sign of the Vireo. During my lunch brake in the village Pete and Darryl found two Yellow-billed Cuckoos of which I got to see one. Stunning birds they are! Hope we get one with black bill soon for comparison. These two birds were new in thanks to a low pressure moving out from Newfoundland, bringing westerlies (and rain) yesterday and today. And that's not all that was found today...
Pete and Darryl left today, as did Dominic and his group. In came Team Scandinavia with two Swedes, four Danes and two Finns and also Daniele from Italy. Now the big photo battle is ON Vincent! Went up with all of them and Manuel and did another try for the White-eyed. After one or two hours Eric brought the news to us that Pierre had did it again, found a mega that is, this time a Yellow-throated Vireo. He's in the zone! As I was fortunate enough to see last years bird in Cancelas I stayed on Pico until dusk without seeing the White-eyed, while everyne else went to Cantinho and dipped the Yellow-throated. Hopefully we'll all have a bit more luck tomorrow!
Another lowpressure seems to be moving out around Wednesday in a somewhat more southerly orbit... what will come then?
American Great Egret 1, American Redstart 1, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Whimbrel 1
Sunday, October 18, 2009
In Santa Cruz we had two taxis waiting for us and immediately went up to Lagoa Rasa and the Killdeer. Small lake and easy to scan so we found the bird fast. What a stunning wader! Enjoyed it on ground and in flight for half an hour or so before we continued to Ponta Delgada and the Upland Sandpiper along the road out to Ponta do Albarnaz. The Upland Sand was soon giving excellent views in flight, but was a bit tricky to spot on the ground as it was really flighty and nervous.
After enjoying the bird for an hour we walked back to Ponta Delgada and had lunch at a bar. Some of the guys walked over the old soccer field and bumped into a White-rumped and a Least Sandpiper. While we were having our very late lunch we got news about a Double-crested Cormorant in Lajedo on the other side of the island. Being short on time we never went for the bird as we would never have made it to the harbour in Santa Cruz to 18:00 :( Instead we had a look at the waders before our taxis came and took us to Santa Cruz.
In Santa Cruz harbour, close to the boat, we had two Semi-p Plovers and another White-rump giving stunning views. Other stunning views there was Vincent Legrand showing how you do to get the best pictures of whatever might turn up.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
When we had walked back for a while we got news that the Baltimore Oriole was seen again in the village. We were about 5 km away! So guess if we were glad when a car came by and me and Vincent got a ride down to the village! Half an hour later we had gotten good views of the Oriole and went back to the guesthouse to have a chill lunch and wait for the arriving birders; three Swedes, a Belgian and four Brits. Now we are 26 birders on the island!
Went up and kicked around Pico and da Ponte in the afternoon which resulted in nice views of the Yellow Warbler. After that had a slow walk back with Vincent. When we got to Ribeira da Lapa a Blue-winged teal came flying out of the tiny valley! Maybe I should add that the biggest pool of water in there is about 5 m long and 1½ m wide. Anyway, the bird appeared to land again so we went in to have a look for it and then Vincent picked up a Red-eyed Vireo instead! Excellent finish to the day!