Wednesday 18 October 2017

Dickcissel and more...

Another ‘magic’ day on Corvo today for most birders despite a slow morning start with very little reported apart from the death of the Surf Scoter in the New Harbour witnessed by Vincent and myself. Not surprising as the bird was getting weaker and weaker every day, presumably due to a lack of appropriate feeding opportunities on this side of the Atlantic!

By 11am, the only American landbird on offer was a Red-eyed Vireo reported by Daniele on the southern part of Lapa fields. With so little Nearctic activity on the island recorded so far today, a few birders, including the Spanish team led by Ferran, decided to have a try at Daniele’s Vireo. They couldn’t have thought better as on their way to the bird, they discovered in Lapa fields a new Nearctic species of major interest for the Azores and the Western Palearctic: a fine looking Dickcissel, presumably only the 6th WP record following one in Norway in 1981, 2 on nearby Flores Island (Azores) in 2009, followed by one on Corvo in 2011 and 2 again on Corvo in 2012. A welcome news for many birders who still needed this species for their list and managed decent views of the bird, which was rather cooperative over the course of the afternoon.

Another noteworthy event for the day relates again to the Blackburnian Warbler which was briefly relocated by Chris and myself on the southern gully of the Tennessee Valley in late afternoon (around 4pm) and despite a hard blowing wind. This was enough to bring many birders back into the area in a coordinated effort to relocate the bird, which eventually did cooperate more than on previous days, offering good, albeit brief, views for all who had missed it earlier.

And last but not least, the Caldeira area that had been forgotten over the last few days was visited again today by some of the Swedish, thereby producing a few Nearctic waterbird additions to the autumnal list!

Nearctic species seen today included:
Surf Scoter: 1 (New Harbour)
Blue-winged Teal: 1 (Caldeira)
Ring-necked Duck: 2 (Caldeira)
Lesser Yellowlegs: 2 (Caldeira)
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 2 (Reservoir and Old Harbour)
Spotted Sandpiper: 2 (Caldeira and Beach at southern end of airstrip)
White-Rumped Sandpiper: 2 (Caldeira)
Upland Sandpiper: 1 (Reservoir)
Dickcissel: 1 (Lapa fields)
Red-eyed Vireo: 3+ (Fojo 1-2, Lapa, Tennessee Valley)
Blackburnian Warbler: 1 (Tennessee Valley)

Dickcissel (1st winter female), Lapa fields, 18 October 2017 (Daniele Occhiato)

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