Saturday, 30 November 2019

Autumn 2019 - Summary

As in previous years, a summary of the seasonal findings on Corvo has been compiled and is presented below.

2019 autumn at a glance: 

Timing: First Waterbird species found on 26/09 (Lesser Yellowlegs/B-W Teal) and last on 26/10 (American Bittern); First landbird species found on 23/09 (Red-eyed Vireo) and last on 24/10 (Common Yellowthroat) ;

Abundance/No of species: 26 American landbird species, with a total estimated 54 different individuals; 8 American Waterbird species, with a total estimated 12 different individuals ;

Best records: Prothonotary Warbler (1st WP record); Cape May Warbler (3rd WP record); Chestnut-sided Warbler (5th WP record); White-eyed Vireo (5th WP record); Canada Warbler (6th WP record); Hooded Warbler (7th WP record); Magnolia Warbler (10th WP record).

Landbird speciesNo of ind.
Northern Harrier1
Cliff Swallow1
Buff-bellied Pipit2
Hermit Thrush1
White-eyed Vireo1
Philadelphia Vireo2
Red-eyed Vireo22
Northern Parula1
Black-throated Green Warbler1
Magnolia Warbler1
Prothonotary Warbler1
Black-and-white Warbler4
Chestnut-sided Warbler1
Blackpoll Warbler1
Cape May Warbler1
Northern Waterthrush2
Ovenbird1
Common Yellowthroat1
American Yellow Warbler 2
Canada Warbler 1
Hooded Warbler1
Scarlet Tanager1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak1
Indigo Bunting1
Dickcissel1
Bobolink1
Total54
Waterbird speciesNo of ind.
Blue-winged Teal2
American Bittern1
Lesset Yellowlegs1
White-rumped Sandpiper3
Pectoral Sandpiper1
Semipalmated Plover2
Wilson's Snipe1
Spotted Sandpiper1
Total12

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

American Bittern

Most birders have now left the island as the autumn starts drawing to a close. However an American Bittern on Saturday (26th) proves that new vagrants for the year can still occur and there is always a chance of a late autumn speciality. 

The last couple of days has seen a couple of European vagrants arriving including a Shelduck yesterday and a Marsh Harrier. 

A Vagrant Emperor dragonfly recorded last Friday appears to be a first for the Azores. With the Green Darner earlier on in the season and now this record, that's potentially two dragonfly 'firsts for the Azores' (if accepted) in the last few weeks from Corvo.   

 
 American Bittern (Vincent Legrand) 
 Red-eyed Vireo (Vincent Legrand) 
Common Shelduck (Vincent Legrand)
Vagrant Emperor, 25th October in the Lower Fields Tamarisks (Marcin) 

Daily Logs:

26th October: 
1 American Bittern (Lapa), 1 Red-eyed Vireo (unringed bird)1 Barnacle Goose, 1 Long-eared Owl
27th October:
24 Snow Bunting,  8 Pintail, 2 Blue-winged Teal, 1 Glossy Ibis, 5 Eurasian Wigeon, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs (Caldera)
28th October:
1 Shelduck, 
29th October:
1 Marsh Harrier 

An interesting article about a first visit to Corvo by Paul French (Chair of the British Birds Rarities Committee) HERE


Friday, 25 October 2019

Yellowthroat and Corvo ringing

It's still relatively quiet on the island but there was a new american bird yesterday in the form of a Common Yellowthroat in the village that was subsequently ringed. David Monticelli and co. are currently conducting a ringing study on Corvo aimed at monitoring the movements and duration of stay of vagrants across the island and also taking samples to determine geographical origin using isotope analysis. A Red-eyed Vireo was also ringed today at Poco d'Agua.

Otherwise still rather quiet on the western front, a few more ducks are appearing and there's been another (or the same) Long-eared Owl seen. Unfortunately the Spotted Sandpiper was looking exhausted today and was picked up this evening from the beach and has been taken to the vets.


Common Yellowthroat (above and below) (Vincent Legrand)

Red-eyed Vireo (Vincent Legrand) 
Spotted Sandpiper (Vincent Legrand) 
The ringing group 
Daily logs:
24th October:
1 Common Yellowthroat (Village- ringed and released), 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Northern Wheatear,
1 Long-eared Owl (Tennessee Valley), 1 Blue-winged Teal, 1 female Teal sp (Caldera)
25th October :
1 Red-eyed Vireo (Ringed and released at Poco d'agua) , 2 Wigeon sp (Windmills), 1 Spotted Sandpiper (taken into care), 2 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Pintail, 1 Glossy Ibis, 1 Blue-winged Teal (Caldera) 

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Very quiet on the Western front

It's been a quiet few days (20th-23rd October), the highlights being Blackpoll Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo on 20th which were only seen by the finders leaving only a few birding scraps for the 50 or so birders on the island. 

A timely presentation by Pierre-Andre Crochet on Sunday evening provided some much needed entertainment, a slide show and talk titled 'Chasing 900 birds in the Western Palearctic', an excellent look at Pierre's twitching career over the last couple of decades. Pierre has now seen more birds in the WP than anyone else (Rankings here ) and is currently on 885 species out of the potential 1030 on the list.  
 Semipalmated Plover (Vincent Legrand) 
Cory's Shearwater (Vincent Legrand). Juvenile Cory's Shearwaters are currently vacating their burrows and gathering off shore (there are thousands of birds circling the island like a giant ring doughnut). Some of the juveniles get distracted by the village lights so there is a SPEA/Government led rescue programme called SOS Cargarro (Here) where the locals collect disoriented birds from the village and release them during the day to sea.
Pierre's talk, 'Chasing 900 species in the Western Palearctic' (above and below) 

Daily logs:
20th October: 
1 Blackpoll Warbler (Upper Cancelas), 1 Philadelphia Vireo (Da Ponte), 1 Indigo Bunting, 1 Long-eared Owl (Lighthouse Valley), 1 White-rumped Sandpiper (Reservoir), 1 Blue-winged Teal, 1 Glossy Ibis, 2 Pink-footed Goose (Caldera), 1 Alpine Swift, 1 Barnacle Goose (Village), 1 Common Scoter (past windmills), 4 Snow Bunting, 1 Lapland Bunting (reservoir)
21st October: 
1 Red-eyed Vireo (Pico), 1 Alpine Swift (Village), 1 Corncrake (Power station), 2 Blue-winged Teal, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Glossy Ibis, 7 Pintail (Caldera), 9 Snow Bunting (reservoir)
22nd October:
1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Spotted Sandpiper (Village), 1 Alpine Swift (Village), 2 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Pintail, 1 Glossy Ibis, 2 Blue-winged Teal, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 LesserYellowlegs (Caldera)
23rd October:
1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, Scoter sp (Windmills)



Saturday, 19 October 2019

A trickle of new arrivals

Despite the unfavourable wind conditions a few more American birds were discovered today, a single Dickcissel in Upper Lapa and a Scarlet Tanager in Tennessee Valley both found by Marcin Solowiej and a Lesser Yellowlegs and White-rumped Sandpiper in the Caldera. A Meadow Pipit also found today in the Caldera is a rarer species on Corvo than the new american species.

 Indigo Bunting (Vincent Legrand) 
Hermit Thrush (Vincent Legrand) 


Other species still present include:
 1 North Parula (Lighthouse Valley), 1 Hermit Thrush (Fojo), 1 Indigo Bunting (Poco d'agua), 1 Red-eyed Vireo (Pico),  1 Blue-winged Teal, 1 Glossy Ibis, 2 Pink-footed Goose (Caldera), 1 Alpine Swift (village) and 1 Pomarine Skua (Channel)

Friday, 18 October 2019

A nice selection of yanks and a treat from the east

Today (18th October) the only new arrival was from Europe, a juvenile Alpine Swift, only the second record for Corvo and 14th for the Azores. However there were still a nice selection of american birds on the island with the Hooded Warbler still in Do Vinte, the Yellow Warbler still in the same area as yesterday, the Hermit Thrush still showing well in Fojo, the female Northern Parula at the Lighthouse Valley, the Indigo Bunting at Poco d'Agua, 3 Red-eyed Vireos (2 in Da Ponte and 1 in Pico), the Northern Harrier still quartering the sides of the caldera and the two Semipalmated Plover still on the airfield. 

The weather is not looking particularly good over the next few days for new american arrivals but anything is possible on Corvo.  

Male Hooded Warbler- this bird has been present for nearly two weeks, it was first found at the campsite in the village and then relocated to Do Vinte where photographs showed that details of the throat pattern confirmed it as the same bird. (Vincent Legrand) 
Yellow Warbler, a different bird to the male in the village tamarisks. This bird is duller, not as green and lacks orange streaks on the breast (Vincent Legrand) 
The Hermit Thrush again at Fojo. The pale tips to the median coverts is a feature that other catharus thrushes do not show. (Vincent Legrand) 

Alpine Swift- for many this was the bird of the day; An Azores tick! (Vincent Legrand) 

Hermit Thrush

Highlight since the last post was a Hermit Thrush found by Paul French. A Western Palearctic lifer for many birders and also for top WP birder Pierre-Andre Crochet and only the 4th record for the Azores. Other new birds included an Indigo Bunting on 16th October and possibly a new Yellow Warbler on 17th.

A Barnacle Goose on 16th was a Corvo/Azores tick for many birders, with only 13 previous records on the Azores. This species is a national rarity for Portugal. 

25+ Short-finned Pilot Whales were off Lighthouse Valley on 17th. 


 Hermit Thrush (above and below) (Vingent Legrand)

Female Northern Parula (Vincent Legrand) 
Bobolink (Vincent Legrand) 
Barnacle Goose (Peter Alfrey) 
Short-finned Pilot Whales

Daily Logs: 

16th October
1 Hermit Thrush (Fojo), 1 Cliff Swallow, 1 Bobolink (near da Ponte), 1 Indigo Bunting (Poco d'Agua), 1 Red-eyed Vireo (Pico), 1 Northern Harrier, 1 Barnacle Goose (in Channel), 2 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Lapland Bunting, 1 Snow Bunting 

17th October
1 Yellow Warbler (Lapa), 1 Northern Parula (Lighthouse Valley), 1 Hermit Thrush (Fojo), 1 Buff-bellied Pipit, 2 Red-eyed Vireo (Da Ponte), 1 Northern Harrier, 2 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Barnacle Goose, 4 Snow Bunting