Tuesday 17 October 2017

A brief and disappointing reappearance of the Blackburnian Warbler.

With such a recent 'mega day' last Sunday as a result of tropical storm Ophelia, there was much expectations among Corvo birders that more goodies had to be found over the next week. Unfortunately this assumption wasn't backed up by any evidence over the last two days.

Even worst, the two 'star' birds of the season found on Sunday, Yellow-throated Vireo and Blackburnian Warbler, were nowhere to be found on Monday despite intensive search throughout the day by the many birders who had failed to connect with those two 'beauties' on Sunday. Today, however, hope for a second chance was back at 2pm when the news broke that a single birder had had a brief glimpse at the Blackburnian in the dense and large Juniper patch located on the east flank of the Tennessee Valley, only meters away from the spot where the bird was initially discovered by Mika. Needless to say that panic ensued as soon as the news went out, with dozens of birders running frantically from all corners of the island towards the above named area. The epilogue of the day was nevertheless less fancy for most of us as relief would never materialise: in fact, apart from the fortunate birder who had a brief sighting of the warbler today, no one else did connect with it despite much coordinated efforts to relocate it. The 'take-home' message here being that birding on Corvo can be somewhat frustrating at times, due to a combination of factors such as rude terrain with steep slopes and numerous hilly valleys, with large patches of impenetrable overgrown vegetation in which unobtrusive warblers can be easily missed.

Tomorrow however is another day and surely more efforts will be dedicated to relocate the Blackburnian Warbler and to find out new interesting birds. Weather-wise, wind is still blowing from the West although the overall conditions over the Western Atlantic are predicted to become optimal  only towards the end of the week!

Totals of Nearctic species seen on 16-17 October 2017:
Surf Scoter: 1 (New Harbour)
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 2 (Reservoir and New harbour)
Lesser Yellowlegs: 1 (Reservoir)
Upland Sandpiper: 1 (over the road to Reservoir)
Spotted Sandpiper: 1 (Southern end of beach)
Red-eyed Vireo: 4 (Fojo, Da Ponte, Tennessee Valley, Tamarisk south of airstrip)
Common Yellowthroat: 1 (above rubbish dump)
Blackpoll Warbler: 2 (Tamarisk in Upper Fields above dump)
Northern Waterthrush: 1 (Tennessee Valley)
Blackburnian Warbler: 1 (Tennessee Valley)

Surf Scoter, New Harbour at Vila do Corvo, 16 October 2017 (Vincent Legrand)
In addition, several Palearctic species rarely seen on Corvo over the last two days include a Red Phalarope at sea,  a Black-crowned Night-Heron over the Low Fields, two Snow Buntings around the Reservoir and a Common Whitethroat at Tennessee Valley.

Common Whitethroat, Tennessee Valley, 17 October 2017 (Vincent Legrand)

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