Friday 13 October 2017

A change in the weather

Yesterday was relatively quiet on the Rock with the main new arrival being 2 Dotterel at the Reservoir. Remaining birds included 2 Blue-winged Teal, 1 Ring-necked Duck, 3 Little Stint, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper and 5 Glossy Ibis in the caldera with the Rough-legged Hawk/ Buzzard seen over the reservoir, a Red-eyed Vireo at Do Vinte, a Willow Warbler at Tennessee Valley and the Semipalmated Sandpiper still at the old harbour and presumably the same bird seen at the reservoir. 

Today saw a complete change in the weather from clear skies and temperatures approaching 30 C to heavy rain and a brisk south west breeze. Conditions are set to deteriorate further (or rather improve from a birding perspective)  as the weekend progresses as Hurricane Ophelia swings past the Azores by Sunday. The source of the system is East / Central Atlantic so the expectation for American vagrants is not particularly high but the possibility of good sea watching is. In the past, tropical species such as White-tailed Tropicbird, Magnificent Frigatebird and Trindade Petrel have been recorded in the autumn on Corvo and Flores so tropical species are possible.

With the increasing winds today, the sea watching immediately improved with 1 Fea's-type Petrel, 5 Sooty Shearwater, several Great Shearwaters, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Ring-necked Duck past the windmills and a Leach's Petrel was taken into care.

Even more encouraging there was a small arrival of new american vagrants headlined by a Blackpoll Warbler in tamarisks near the village, a presumed American Great White Egret ,Spotted Sandpiper and 2 White-rumped Sandpipers.

Rarer still for Corvo, a Curlew Sandpiper was at the Old harbour- one of the few island records. 

Blackpoll Warbler (Vincent Legrand) 

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