Tuesday, 29 October 2013

On the rock again

I've now finished my second day on the rock. You'll read this and think it has all been plain sailing, but believe me, it has been a real struggle. After nailing our 'last supper' on Sao Miguel on Sunday night, we (Lee G and I) arrived early afternoon yesterday and headed straight up to Pico (via the dwindling flock of Glossy Ibises that are now down to three - at least two of the original six have been found dead) where a Black-throated Green Warbler had been seen on Saturday (and heard on Sunday). With the weather excellent - little wind and the sun shining - we thought we had a decent chance. However, an hour ticked by and the daunting ribeira was deadly silent. Then another hour and with just the odd Blackcap and Canary to show, and not even a call to show for, Lee struck gold by finding it feeding unobtrusively in the canopy. This fourth for the Azores, a first-winter, was pretty mind blowing with a nice double wing bar, streaked flanks and a deep yellow cheeks. Once again, I wasn't going to leave Corvo without a new WP bird...

American Bittern, Fojo, Corvo 29th October 2013
Today, Tuesday, dawned cloudy with a moderate westerly breeze. After a token check of middle fields and around the airport - where there were still a couple of Glossy Ibises looking pissed off with life, and a load of newly released Cory's Shearwaters (locals collect young that are fresh out of the nest, get dazzled by street lights and end up in the village) - we headed up to the ribeiras. Lee and I did Cantinho, while the Finns took on the upper part of Fojo - both of us leaving empty handed. Between Cancelas and Fojo, while in a field watching a load of birds around a fruiting tree, I noticed a large bird coming quickly through the valley - it was obviously an American Bittern, and so I yelled to Lee who was close by and told him that it had landed out of sight in the lower bit of Fojo. The Finns were informed, and they did a professional job of getting on site quickly, just as Lee located it in a tree. Here it remained, rather skittishly before a band of fog and a brisk breeze forced it down into cover never to be seen again.
Glossy Ibis at the airfield, Corvo - one of an initial flock of six that was down to two today; two birds have been found dead on Corvo during October.
With torrential rain, and poor visibility, late afternoon was spent back in the village where a couple of White-rumped Sandpipers were on the airfield and a Wheatear was by the windmill. With just five of us birding here, there must be a lot more out there but weather conditions really weren't conducive for finding stuff so we'll take the bittern from what was essentially a wash out.

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