Saturday, 13 October 2012

Azores 2: back to Blackpoll

Record shot of today's mega - Blackpoll Warbler at 'Phyllo Wood', Sete Cidades.
It rained last night in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel. A lot. It often does here in the mid-Atlantic, but with westerly winds in October, rain has a greater significance. So I shelved my original plan to head east and look for waders, and instead went to the crater lakes in the west - initially with wildfowl and waders in mind, admittedly, but also in the hope of a migrant in the small wood between Lagoas Azul and Verde. I'd barely arrived when a couple of Common Waxbills dropped in to a tree on the edge of the wood; I 'pished' to catch their interest and take some photos, when something else came in behind them. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed two white wing-bars and greeny-yellow plumage, diffuse underparts streaking and an insectivorous bill: BLACKPOLL WARBLER! *&?!*^ I could hardly believe it, yet there it was right in front of me, flitting about on lichen-covered branches. I fired off some shaky record shots in the poor light (above), mindful of the need to document the record - there have been just four prior to this autumn on the Azores, so with one on Corvo earlier in the week this is the sixth. Other highlights today: Pied-billed Grebe, Peregrine Falcon (38 records prior to this year), White-rumped Sandpiper (a brace in the morning then an amazing 30+ in the afternoon, the latter found by Gerby Michielsen) and an adult Roseate Tern at the harbour outfall in Ponta Delgada. Picked up a tired but ready-for-it group from the airport this evening - looking forward to showing them around in the morning.

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