Friday, 28 October 2011

The Last Full Shift

Today started off, and finished, rather misty with a brisk SSW wind. It was to be the last full day of birders being present on Corvo for autumn 2011 so thought I'd give it a good bash.
After a quick walk around the village in the half light, where the highlight was a White Wagtail seen by Vegard, we wandered to the harbour where the plover from a couple of days ago was still present. Not the most obvious Semi-p(?) I've seen by a long stretch but seemingly is one, with that eye-ring, the lores having a whitish area below the gape and those palmations (obvious between mid and outer toes). More research needed, and it played on my mind right the way up the rock to the other side near the lighthouse.
We got a taxi up to Lighthouse Valley, cutting through all the murk in the middle of the island, and were greeted with more murk and a strongish wind in this exposed valley. Had a good bash at things, but just the usuals. Reminds me a lot of Nanjizzal in Cornwall, so was just waiting for a nice empid to fly out... but it never did. When things got too much, we all headed back along the road and took the track down towards the old whale house - in old times, there used to be people stationed there that would send flares out to boats offshore when they spotted whales.

I'd never been down this way, so lost my bearings a little bit - due to the fog - and that meant we were all scrambling around like goats unnecessarily. But when things cleared, there was Cantinho down below so dropping two fields down from the whale house - BANG!! - yankee action once again. As I rounded a hydrangea hedge and dropped into the next field, there was a lovely Common Yellowthroat nobbing around in front of me. I shouted to the troops, Arthur standing next to me anyway, and all were able to get views of this 1st-winter female before it disappeared into the abyss. We stood around for the best part of an hour, but there was no further sign and it was time to try and get amongst some more yanks with just the a'noon remaining for autumn 2011 in Corvo's valleys!

We had an entertaining climb down Cantinho, scrambling around once again like goats and making friends with the many trees as we clung on alond the slippery slopes. There were, alas, no yanks though the hope was always there for a nice Nearctic wood warbler. I had a quick look in the bottom of Cancelas, but it was too blowy and I had my fall of the day... grabbing hold of a not so solid rock!

Back on the road, there was a bit of action in the bottom of Fojo and it wasn't long before I picked up a bright yellow/orange bird - the Summer Tanager was once again in the original spot where I saw it on Monday, and where it was found on Sunday by David Monticelli and co. Rather bizarre that it was back here again, after Arthur and I had a Summer Tanager half a mile or so away yesterday. The rest of the day was spent feeling rare in Poco de Agua and Do Vinte, but those rares didn't develop and that was it valley wise for 2011. There's always next year.

When I got down to the village, Arthur had photographed a couple of adult 'Herring Gulls' on the airfield that look interesting to say the least, so perhaps they'll be around tomorrow? We had out last supper in the restaurant by the windmill; survived the food here for another year... just. And then with the supermarket open between 9-11pm, had to wait 10-15 minutes to purchase a couple of cans of Diet Coke while the queue moved tediously slowly. Never thought I'd say it, but bring on Tesco.

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