Tuesday 8 October 2013

American redstart!

The birding conditions were rather 'British' today - with heavy rain falling the whole morning - so the majority of us had already returned to their housing place by mid-afternoon. Only a handful of birders - including the British ones - seemed to be able to cope with such a poor weather and to achieve a complete day in the field. And it paid off. Around 4.00pm, Gordon Beck was still actively birding when he had a brief view of a small warbler feeding high in the dense tree canopy at Da Ponte. The initial sighting was just a glimpse but he had seen enough of it to immediately broadcast the news of an American wood-warbler sp., with a few nearby birders arriving on the spot within minutes. A thorough search of the area was being quickly organised when Gordon himself managed to re-observe the wood-warbler at its original place for a brief moment and, at the same time, to put a name on it: American redstart! Not less than the fifth species of American wood-warbler for Corvo this autumn and a highly sought-after one by most birders present on the island who had now the opportunity to unblock a new species on their personal WP list. Thanks to our taximen, Joao, most birders arrived on the spot within half an hour and by the end of the afternoon, everyone had managed at least a few decent views of this restless beauty.

American redstart (1st winter), 8 October 2013, Ribeira da Ponte, Corvo
American redstart is a very rare bird outside the Azores with only a couple of records in UK and Ireland. As for the Azores, there are currently 11 records, 6 of which belong to Corvo (4 in 2009, 1 in 2010, 1 in 2013). Thus, for the first day with an intense coverage of the island by more than 30 birders, redstart was...a great start! The weather conditions look promising for the rest of the week with westerly winds predicted, so the motivation is strong in the group tonight to do our best in the next days to push further up the list of rarities found on The Rock this autumn.

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