Sunday, 17 October 2010

Back in the Azores

Excellent views of Azores Bullfinch got the tour off to a great start.
Last night was a short one. Having landed at Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel after 11 pm and then crashed out at the hotel well after midnight, I was up at 5.30 am to get ready to head off in search of Azores Bullfinch at the other end of the island. But an early start is important, and the Birdwatch reader group - this year comprising English, French and Dutch birders - are especially eager to see this threatened endemic.

We got to my traditional spot on schedule and heard a Priolo calling immediately as we got out of the car - a superb start to proceedings. It took a little while longer to see them well but, as this image shows, the views were superb. Far rarer here were two Common Crossbills - the second time in three years that we have found this rare visitor at the site.

Pied-billed Grebe was one of three American species seen on day one.

A rapid tour of the island's hot-spots followed, resulting in a haul which included a smart Pied-billed Grebe at Lagoa Azul and American Golden Plover and Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the airport among other waders. Also of interest was an American Painted Lady at Furnas - the first I have seen in the islands. So job well and truly done on Sao Mig - tomorrow Flores.

American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensis at Furnas.

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