Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Torrential conditions in the mid-Atlantic

Having had the flight cancelled yesterday, we woke up to this: -
The natural swimming baths at Santa Cruz, Flores - wouldn't fancy it today
It was some mad storm, with schools closed and loads of landslides across the island. Probably more rain in one day than I see in London in a year, with all flights across the western and central Azorean islands cancelled apparently. Just a shame that the wind was from the east.

Anyway, birds wise it was pleasant though unspectacular (for an Azorean context this autumn at least). Each time I've visited the old soccer pitch at Ponta Delgada, it has felt rare and with 11 White-rumped Sands and 5 Semi-p Plovers walking around at point blank range, today was no exception. Nearby, there was an adult Ring-billed Gull and White-rumped Sand at Ponta do Albarnaz but anything the size of a passerine was staying low or getting blown about like a leaf.
juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - one of eleven on the soccer pitch on Flores
So to Faja Grande, as the middle of the island was covered in fog, and I managed to find a Skylark before it quickly got blown away - an Azores tick no less! Four Semi-p Plovers walking around a village field was nice too, though rather gripping was news of a 'small swallow' from the couple of Finns who have also got stranded here on Flores. Retrospectively, they put the name Cliff Swallow to it but, alas, there was no further sign.
1st-winter Semi-p Plover on the soccer pitch too - showing off what you need to see with an obvious orange bill base, narrow breast band, yellow eye ring, nice white lores at the base of the lower mandible and obvious pale fringed coverts
Meant to fly onto Corvo tomorrow. We will see... not got too high hopes though.

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