Friday 20 October 2017

The Rock rocks!

Today was a truly special day that everyone will remember on Corvo. The strong Westerlies that had been continuously blowing over the last 7 days finally went down, allowing us to do a proper check of the main wooded valley on the island. And with still over 40 birders present at this time of the year it is an euphemism to say that it paid off!

By 10.00am, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-White Warbler, Ovenbird, Blackpoll Warbler and Indigo bunting had already been logged for the day. The pinnacle however came around 10:30am when Vincent discovered a first-winter male Hooded Warbler in Ribeira de Cancelas while trying to photograph yesterday’s Black-throated Green Warbler that had been relocated at the same spot. During several hours, the two American warblers were observed hopping from ground to canopy level in the same area, thereby providing all birders with delightful views down to several meters. 

Madness continued in the afternoon with numerous Red-eyed Vireos being reported from many wooded valleys as well as several Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Add to this Grey-cheeked Thrush from Cancelas (again!), a couple of Blackpolls from Vila do Corvo, the trio Scarlet Tanager - Dickcissel and Tennessee Warbler from Lapa fields, Rose-breasted Grosbeak from Reservoir, and you have what should be termed a ‘mind blowing’ day on Corvo. Surely the kind of day that every decent WP birder would have been dreaming off…

Historically, only October 17 in 2015 produced such a major land fall on The Rock although today’s finding is setting up a new record: no less than 12 American warblers have now been recorded since the onset of the 2017 autumnal season and there is hope for more to come as the weather forecast for the next days is still very promising. Hooded Warbler also remains an extreme vagrant species to the Western Palearctic with only five records to date, three of which have been on Corvo (2005, 2008, 2017). 

Nearctic species observed today include:
Yellow-billed Cuckoo: 4 (Lighthouse Valley, Fojo, Pico, Tennessee Valley)
Red-eyed Vireo: 8 (Da Ponte - 2, Fojo - 3, Lighthouse Valley, Do Vinte, Middle Fields)
Grey-cheeked Thrush: 1 (Ribeira de Cancelas)
Scarlet Tanager: 1 (Lapa fields)
Dickcissel: 1 (Lapa fields)
Indigo Bunting: 1 (Fojo)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 1 (Reservoir)
Blackpoll Warbler: 3 (Tamarisk above Rubbish dump - 2, Ribeira de Poço d’Agua)
Black-throated Green Warbler: 1 (Ribeira de Cancelas)
Hooded Warbler: 1 (Ribeira de Cancelas)
Tennessee Warbler: 1 (Lapa fields)
Black-and-White Warbler: 1+ (Ribeira da Ponte, Pico)
Ovenbird: 1+ (Ribeira da Ponte, Pico)
Common Yellowthroat: 3 (Fojo, Power Station, Middle Fields)

Black-throated Green Warbler, Ribeira de Cancelas, 20 October 2017 (Vincent Legrand)
Hooded Warbler (first-winter male), Ribeira de Cancelas, 20 October 2017 (Vincent Legrand)
Ovenbird, Pico, 20 October 2017 (Vincent Legrand)

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