Monday, 27 September 2010

The Azores draw

Semipalmated Sandpiper in active feeding mode: first Yank of the trip.
Far rarer in the Azores was this Garganey - just the 30th individual.
There are few better places to be birding in autumn than the Azores, and it's great to be back in Ponta Delgada on the main island of São Miguel. I'm only here for four nights, and with six flights in five days have a lot of ground to cover. Web access is sometimes difficult here, so I'll keep it short and sweet and, whenever possible, let the pictures do the talking.

Today's highlight, at least in terms of rarity value, was unusually a European rather than American species. I discovered this cracking Garganey at Lagoa Verde, my first stop after arriving on the island. Unsurprisingly, given that there are only 30 previous individuals, it was an Azores tick for me. On to Mosteiros, where the rocky shoreline took some searching for waders. Eventually I found this juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper associating with a group of Turnstones; up to three have been reported recently. Other species included Eurasian Whimbrel, 200+ Cory's and three Manx Shearwaters offshore and a very distant skua (probably Arctic) harrying a tern out to sea.

Turnstones showed well for the camera today in their various guises.

The Ponta Delgada gull roost contained only 'Atlantic' Gulls this evening (the atlantis form of Yellow-legged Gull), so I quickly moved on to catch roosting waders before dusk - no more Yanks, but an unexpected Bar-tailed Godwit in with more whimbrels and Turnstones on the rocks. Early start tomorrow for Pico.

This Bar-tail was photographed at dusk, hence the 'noise' and soft focus.

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