Saturday, 26 October 2013

In the middle of the Atlantic again

Half-term couldn't have come sooner. And predictably I've headed out to 'the rock' (Corvo)for the fifth successive year. I've got as far as Sao Miguel today, and with the news that the Black-throated Green Warbler is still about today, I'm wishing Monday would come sooner. Only those who have been to the Azores will realise how dull the eastern and central islands are compared to Corvo, but I tried to make the most of the day on Sao Miguel in damp and dull conditions.

I started off with the Oystercatcher at Ribeira Grande - a species I'd not seen on the Azores - and more interestingly, this bird is of the Central Asian race longipes; note the massive white collar, large amount of white in the wings and brownish upperparts. Jizz wise, it also appeared really leggy. About as interesting as Oystercatchers get for sure!
Lagoa das Furnas and the surrounding fields full of shite were quiet, save for a female Pintail and half a dozen Teal. And after stopping off at Vila Franca do Campo, where I papped atlantis for an hour or so, I headed to Praia do Populo to get my usual digs for the next couple of nights. Scanning through the bathing gulls, I came across a massively shawled, pale-mantled bird that immediately pressed all the right buttons for an American Herring Gull. Although distant, I was more than happy this was a blindingly obvious 3rd-winter smithsonianus; amongst the atlantis, any 'Herring Gull' here stands out.
1st-winter Azorean Yellow-legged Gull; this is the third 'pink-billed' 1st-winter I've seen in the last couple of years. An almost unheard of trait in nominate birds. Look at those dark shins too!
The drizzle (and tiredness) got the better of me this evening, and I didn't quite last out until dusk for the gull roost at Ponta Delgada. Anyway, better go as need to do a taxi run to pick up Lee G from the airport. More tomorrow hopefully.

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