Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Azores days 3 and 4 - foggy on the rock

Yesterday was largely spent in transit getting from Sao Miguel onto Corvo; I ended up briefly visiting a further two islands (Terceira and Faial) on my way here as for some reason, that's what SATA scheduled for me. Anyway the flights were uneventful, as was the birding arounf the village yesterday afternoon. Since arriving here, the whole of the island is covered in fog so places like the caldeirao (where there should still be a Northern Shrike), the reservoir, the upper fields and the upper parts of the ribeiras have been a total write off.

Luckily though, the end of the lower road - Cantinho and Fojo - were birdable to an extent today, so that's where I headed. And in a lucky break, just as I was leaving Cantinho and heading back along the road, the cloud lifted a bit and there was a Chimney Swift flying low over the trees. In true Corvo style - no photo, no bird - so got a few grainy shots on ISO2000.
Chimney Swift over Cantinho, Corvo 28th October 2014
I then headed up into Fojo from the lower road, and slipping and sliding made my way up beyond the white house where I hung about for a while. Pishing away, wading through the Chaffinches and Blackcaps, along came that sweet 'tsip' that is only ever going to be one thing - a Nearctic wood warbler. And indeed it was, a Black-and-white Warbler. But within 10 seconds or so, there was more movement and amazingly another appeared right beside it. Both looking similar, in that they were 1st-winter males, the whole thing must have lasted 30 seconds or so before they both headed off calling across the clearing. Only on Corvo. There have been sightings of Black-and-white Warbler (one bird) in Fojo up until 20th October, with further sightings this autumn of birds in Cantinho and Da Ponte. All, as far as I'm aware, have been 1st-winter males so difficult to unravel how many birds.
Black-and-white Warbler in Fojo, Corvo 28th October 2014
I managed a couple of Chiffchaffs together at the bottom of Fojo, but apart from a healthy total of 4 Woodcocks flushed in the gloom, the rest of the day was effort for nothing. Interesting to note some rather bizarre responses on other social media sites today about vagrant searching in the Azores - seems like those rocked up in their Norfolk armchairs see it as rather easy. Good luck to anyone who tries it out here, as it's tough. And as always, the rewards are contextual.

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