Monday 14 October 2013

More birds on the Rock... and the reappearance of the Black-throated Blue!

Today was a busy day - very calm after yesterday's storm, and everyone was optimistic that new birds would be found. And so it proved, with at least five new American landbirds found throughout the day. Perhaps best of these was a beautifully showy Philadelphia vireo picked up by Graeme Joynt just below the road in the lower part of Lapa, which was seen and photographed by five observers before it disappeared down in to the valley.

Philadelphia vireo, 14 October 2013, Ribeira da Lapa, Corvo
Philadelphia vireo, 14 October 2013, Ribeira da Lapa, Corvo
A first-winter male Common yellowthroat was discovered south of the airport in the village by Marcin Solowiej, and Pierre-André Crochet discovered a Grey-cheeked thrush lurking within the depths of lower Poço d'Agua mid-afternoon. Two new Red-eyed vireos - in lower Poço d'Agua and Pico - added spice to an already dynamic day.

One of the highlights of the day for many, though, was a Rough-legged hawk picked up over Do Vinte mid-morning by Markku Santamaa, Kalle Larsson and Hannu Palojarvi. Initially described as a Common buzzard, shortly afterwards Josh Jones saw the bird and labelled it a dark morph Rough-legged - making it the first confirmed record of the American race sanctijohannis (all others have been pale birds and thus essentially indistinguishable from European birds). The bird spent much of the day touring the east end of the island, mainly between Fojo and Lapa Fields, and gave some great views.

Rough-legged hawk (immature), 14 October 2013, Above Ribeira da Ponte, Corvo
Big talking point of the day was the rediscovery (in exactly the same spot!) of the Black-throated Blue warbler in Ribeira do Cantinho mid-afternoon. Most birders on the island caught up with the bird but an unfortunate few out of radio range failed to pick up on the message and missed the bird this evening. It will be searched for tomorrow.

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