Saturday, 25 October 2014

Azores day 1 - Western Willet

Never have I needed a break as much as this. Ofsted decided to come to school Thursday and Friday. Hopefully you'll appreciate the torture I've been through leading up to the usual night on the floor of Lisbon airport last night. However, I arrived in Ponta Delgada earlier this morning, with one plan for the day - see the Willet and then relax.

And, thankfully, that's what happened. Ever since first turning up in late September, this Willet has been hanging about the rocky shore of Ponta Delgada ETAR (water treatment area), and though often going missing for several hours (like it was this morning), it showed typically well for the species. A real mega bird in a WP context, with really just the one previously well-watched bird in Norway in the early 90s. So I was the latest to join the list of regular Azores autumn goers to take a look at this beast.

Western Willet, Ponta Delgada ETAR, Sao Miguel, Azores 25th October 2014
When the first photos appeared of this bird, I was quite quick to jump to the conclusion that it looked leggy and rather long billed. However, as more people saw it and more photos emerged, the shift towards a Western Willet occurred quite rightly - indeed, when in the flesh, it's obvious. Check out the ABA paper here for more on the subspecific (species?) identification. If I'd have actually thought about its rocky shore preference, this would be completely wrong for Eastern too.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Rich on the Willet - cracking photos as always! And I feel your Ofsted pain...and I'm just a Business Manager, so I don't even get 'observed' - never fun to get 'the call'...