Saturday 25 October 2014

The reappearance of the Black-throated Green Warbler and of the Northern Grey Shrike!

Weather has been a major drawback on Corvo over the last week with persistent easterly winds precluding any significant arrival of American landbirds. However, two "biggies" have been relocated over the last days providing entertainment for those who decided to stay on the island towards the end of the month.

The Black-throated Green Warbler was relocated around its original place in Poço de Agua yesterday afternoon by David and Jérôme. The news almost immediately attracted the remaining group of 15 birders still present on the island, including a freshly-arrived tour group of 6 German birders. As usual, however, the warbler was moving high in the canopy - giving only intermitent views - and was rapidly lost of sight. As a result, only a handful of birders managed to arrive on time to catch decent views of this beauty. And while most of us were actively trying to relocate the Black-throated Green, Yanne had decent - albeit brief - views of a 1cy female Northern Parula. Later, both birds were refound sitting together in the same tree by Mika and Vincent in another part of the ribeira but again, not everyone managed to arrive on time to see them.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens), 1cy (probable female), 24 October 2014 (Photo courtesy of David Monticelli)
Today, the Northern Grey Shrike was briefly relocated by Michael Fricke in the lower part of Da Ponte - a rather unexpected place for this bird, which was found sitting high in a large Cryptomeria tree. Soon after its rediscovery, it disappeared again and was nowhere to be seen during the rest of the day despite intensive searches conducted inside the ribeira and in the bordering grassland area. To our knowledge, this is the third place that has been visited by the shrike after the Lighthouse valley and the Caldeira, suggesting that it is extremely mobile all over the island.

In addition to this, today's visit to Ribeira do Cantinho by Mika produced sightings of a Black-and-white Warbler and a Red-eyed Vireo. The Black-and-white was photographed, which should be helpful to later determine whether this bird is a new one for the island  - the third Black-and-white of the season following earlier ones in Da Ponte and in Fojo - or whether it is the same individual than the one in nearby Fojo that disappeared a week ago.

The Caldeira was also visited today, producing Black Duck (1), Pectoral Sandpiper (1), White-rumped Sandpiper (3+) and Snow Bunting (2).

The weather forecast for tomorrow suggests a change in wind direction with westerlies starting to blow again so there is hope for a few late automnal discoveries in the next days...time will tell!

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