Sunday 13 October 2013

Mourning dove!

Owing to very windy and rainy conditions from early morning onwards, only the most intrepid birders had ventured outside the guesthouse by noon in an attempt to relocate the Cedar waxwing that was still present around the same place in the Middle Fields.

Thus, today's entertainment started only around 2pm when a Mourning dove was discovered by Vincent Legrand in the Middle Fields (i.e. probably the un-identified dove briefly observed yesterday by Petri Kuhno). The news was immediately released by walkie-talkie with most birders stepping out of the guesthouse almost instantly to converge towards the nearby spot. The dove was nowhere to be seen for at least an hour until the Polish birding team managed to relocate it in a private garden in the old village. The bird was very shy and mobile, commuting frequently between the private garden and several other places in the Middle Fields, so that, by 5pm, only a few of us had had brief flight views, with many birders still lacking any decent observation. The final issue came suddenly in late afternoon when Christian Leth relocated the Mourning dove in a reed area above the village, where the majority of us could now enjoy satisfactory views.

Mourning dove, 13 October 2013, Vila Nova do Corvo, Corvo (Photo courtesy of V. Legrand)
Mourning dove is a very rare vagrant in the western Palearctic with only a dozen records, of which four belong to Azores (including one on Flores in 2008 and three on Corvo in 2005, 2012 and 2013). The birds at Corvo in 2005 and at Flores in 2008 were only seen by single observers, while the 2012 Corvo bird was discovered very late in October when most birders had already left the island. This means that the one found today by Vincent was a nice 'get back' bird for most of us.
Birders at the Mourning dove twitch (from left to right): Vincent Legrand, Marcin Solowiej, Zbigniew Kajzer, Markku Santamaa, Chris Bell, Graeme Joynt, Rafael Armada, Tom Francis, Klaus Drissner, Wojtek Milojz, Thierry Jansen, Michael Fricke, Ferran Lopez Sanz, Seppo Haavisto, Chris De Rouck, Janne Riihimaki, Petri Kuhno, Thomas Lang, and Gary Fennemore.
Birders in action, 13 October 2013, Middle Fields above Vila Nova do Corvo, Corvo

Overall, today was a rather hectic one on the Rock due to the extreme weather conditions that prevailed throughout the day (i.e. the wind blowed constantly from West at an average speed of 35-50 knots per hour).

There is nonetheless much hope that this kind of weather will bring its haul of vagrants to the island, with most of us being already up to the challenge of finding them in the next days!

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