Saturday 13 November 2021

Corvo 2021 Round Up

The last of the autumn birders have now left the island since Ferran Lopez Sanz and Mireia Martos departed on 9th November (following a couple of days delay due to flight cancellations and unfavourable weather). The early November coverage was rewarded with up to 3 Great Blue Herons (hunting mice in the village fields), a Myrtle Warbler and a first-winter Killdeer at the airport.

These late autumn birds brought the total number of Nearctic vagrants for Corvo 2021 to 74 individuals of 38 species (22 landbirds and 16 waterbirds) (fig1) .  This is an above average year for the island compared to the latest analysis up to 2017  (see fig 2) with some top quality too with the Western Palearctic's first Warbling Vireo, second Prothonotary Warbler (a stunning male to boot), sixth Chestnut-sided Warbler and seventh Cape May Warbler. 

So on that note, another great year on Corvo has passed (it's like the Beatles, just keeps being epic) and credit to all the birders that made it another great success. To read how it all began, Birdguides recently re-released the original discovery story from 2005 HERE and for previous papers and articles on Corvo and rare bird reports from the Azores see HERE

Looking forward to it all happening again next autumn! Please join the Corvo Birders Facebook Community for more information and instant news etc HERE

Fig 1. Corvo 2021 Nearctic Vagrant Summary (David Monticelli) 

Fig 2. Extract from Dutch Birding paper, Nearctic Vagrants on Corvo, Azores, 2005-2017 HERE

Male Prothonotary Warbler (Vincent Legrand)
Male Black-throated Blue Warbler (Vincent Legrand) 
The Loural Valley (site of this year's Prothonotary Warbler) 
Monarch and Painted Lady (Vincent Legrand) 

Final week Daily Log: (by Ferran and Mireia)

9th November    2 Great Blue Heron, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper

7th November    Northern Parula still in Lighthouse Valley, 3 Great Blue Heron still feeding in village fields, American Coot, 4 Ring-necked Duck, White-rumped Sandpiper

6th November    First-winter Killdeer at airport, 3 Great Blue Heron, 1 Great Egret 

5th November    Myrtle Warbler and Northern Parula in Lighthouse Valley, 2 Ring-necked Duck, 1 Peregrine, Great Blue Heron

4th November    2 Great Blue Heron

3rd November    3 Great Blue Heron in area around airport 

2nd November    2 Great Blue Heron

1st November    Great Blue Heron, Great Egret

Saturday 30 October 2021

Ticking Over

A rather steady week which concluded on 29th October with most birders leaving the island to mark the season drawing to a close. There will be coverage next week by a Spanish team. 

New arrivals in the previous week included a Black-and-white Warbler on 25th, a Dicksissel on 28th and a Scarlet Tanager on 21st.  A Northern Harrier could have been the season's second bird or could possibly have been the same bird from earlier on in the month (which may have moved back and forth from Flores) . Stayers from the previous week included Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warbler and a hatful of american waterbirds.  
First-winter male Black-throated Blue Warbler
First-winter female Scarlet Tanager
First-winter male Northern Parula
First-winter Ring-billed Gull (all photos by Vincent Legrand) 

29th October    Nothing of note.

28th October    1 juv Dickcissel at campsite found by Tobias Epple et al, Northern Harrier, 4 Ring-necked Ducks, 1 American Coot

27th October    Northern Harrier in Caldera, Osprey, 1 Garganey, 4 Ring-necked Duck, American Coot, 1 Lapland Bunting,   1 White-rumped Sandpiper, 

26th October    1 Northern Parula, 1 Ring-billed Gull 

25th October 1 Northern Parula, 1 Black-throated Blue Warbler, 1 Black and white Warbler found in Fojo by Martin Schuk, 1 Lapland Bunting

24th October    1 Black-throated Blue Warbler, 2 Buff-bellied Pipit, 1 Lapland Bunting, 1 Peregrine ('Arctic-type'), 2 Glossy Ibis, Osprey, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper, 4 Ring-necked Ducks

23rd October     1 Northern Parula, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Lapland Bunting 

22nd October    1 Black-throated Blue Warbler, 2 Buff-bellied Pipit, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, 4 Ring-necked Duck , 1 Blue-winged Teal (from seawatch)

21st October     1 Black-throated Blue Warbler, 1 first-winter female Scarlet Tanager, 2 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Redwing, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Osprey, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, 2 Glossy Ibis, 4 Ring-necked Duck

Thursday 21 October 2021

Black-throated Blue Warbler

The birding highlight of the last few days was a smart looking first-winter male Black-throated Blue Warbler found by Kris de Rouck in Fojo. The Northern Parula is also still present in the Lighthouse Valley and there are also a couple of Red-eyed Vireos and a Buff-bellied Pipit around. A juvenile Osprey (appears to be of European origin) has also arrived on the island. 

Also a couple of bits of belated news, Magnus Robb recorded a noc-mig Redwing on 17th October and the probable Red-footed Booby from 14th was confirmed following photograph examination. 

Also of interest Magnus's examination of the constant sound recording monitor that has been set up since late September also recorded Monteiro's Storm-Petrel in late September. On speaking to Corvo seabird expert, Tania Pipa, it has recently been confirmed that up to 10 pairs of Monteiro's Storm-Petrel breed on Corvo and are present from June to September on the island. From September onwards the winter breeding Band-rumped Storm Petrels (Grant's Storm-Petrel) are present with up to 40 pairs breeding. These birds have been heard calling at night from around the Windmills this year too.      

First-winter male Black-throated Blue Warbler (Zbigniew Kajzer)
Osprey (Vincent Legrand)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Vincent Legrand)
Red-footed Booby (Marten Muller) Examination of the photos of the probable bird on 14th October confirm that the bird is indeed an immature Red-footed Booby 

Daily Log:

20th October: Black-throated Blue Warbler still in Fojo, Northern Parula at Lighthouse Valley, 2 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Buff-bellied Pipit, 1 Semipalmated Plover, Pterodroma sp in new harbour

19th October: 1 1st-winter male Black-throated Blue Warbler found by Kris De Rouck in Fojo, 1 Northern Parula at Lighthouse Valley, 1 Buff-bellied Pipit in Caldera, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 2 Glossy Ibis, 4 Ring-necked Duck,  2 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Osprey, 2 Glossy Ibis

18th October: Northern Parula at the Lighthouse Valley, 2 Semipalmated Plover, 2 Red-eyed Vireos at Fojo, Osprey over Fojo, 1 Pterodroma sp from windmills 

Monday 18 October 2021

A steady week

It's been a steady week with a few new birds and a growing number of long staying American vagrants mid-week. The 13th October had a pretty incredible list of birds that had accumulated on the island (see daily log below). New arrivals include a Gray-cheeked Thrush which appeared in exactly the same spot as a Swainson's Thrush a couple of days before (causing some initial confusion) and Scarlet Tanager on the 14th was also a new arrival. A probable Red-footed Booby on the 14th was also reported.  

Prothonotary Warbler (Vincent Legrand) 
Northern Parula (Vincent Legrand)
The first-winter female Cape May Warbler (David Monticelli above and Vincent Legrand, two photos below) was mist netted on the 16th as part of a long term Nearctic vagrant ringing study 

Gray-cheeked Thrush (Vincent Legrand)
Swainson's Thrush (Daniel Maurus) 

Daily Log:

17th October: 1 Cape May Warbler, 1 Northern Parula, 3 Red-eyed Vireos, 1 Rough-legged Buzzard, 4 Ring-necked Duck, 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 Glossy Ibis, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Redwing (Sound recorded at night by Magnus Robb) 

16th October: 1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Cape May Warbler 

15th October: 1 Grey-cheeked Thrush, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Northern Parula at Lighthouse, 1 Prothonotary Warbler, 3 Glossy Ibis, 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 2 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Ring-necked Duck. 

14th October:  Probable Red-footed Booby off the Windmills , 1 Deserta's-type Petrel off Windmills, 1 Scarlet Tanager, 1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Swainson's Thrush, 1 Prothonotary Warbler, 1 Cape May Warbler, 

13th October: 1 Prothonotary Warbler, 1 Cape May Warbler, 2 Cliff Swallow, 1 Swainson's Thrush, 2 Northern Parula, Red-eyed Vireo in the village, 1 Alpine Swift, 2 Glossy Ibis, 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 4 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Ring-necked Duck, 1 Upland Sandpiper, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Rough-legged Buzzard 

Saturday 16 October 2021

Corvo Maps

Updated birding maps of Corvo by Vincent Legrand.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Prothonotary Warbler!

They don't get much more sought after than this- a male Prothonotary Warbler found today by Pierre-Andre Crochet in a small valley south of the Lighthouse Valley. This is the second for Corvo and the WP. The first was a female bird in 2019, for comparison See Here . 

The Cape May Warbler was also still present in the village today showing well. A superb duo of mega American wood warblers. The Northern Parula was also still present and there were a few Red-eyed Vireos, a Cliff Swallow and a Rough-legged Buzzard. 

What with the low latitude westerlies continuing until tomorrow at least, there could be another mega lurking. For more on rarities and weather on Corvo see pages 12 and 14 in the most recent review article HERE

Male Prothonotary Warbler (Vincent Legrand). 
First-winter female Cape May Warbler (Vincent Legrand) 
The Prothonotary Twitch. After a rather long nervous wait on some rather precipitous ledges the stunning bird finally showed well.   

Daily log:

12th October: Prothonotary Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula in lighthouse valley, 3 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Cliff Swallow, 1 Rough-legged Buzzard

11th October: Cape May Warbler still in village, 1 Swainson's Thrush at Fojo, 1 Northern Parula in Lighthouse Valley,  1 Indigo Bunting in do Vinte, 2 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Upland Sandpiper, 1 Buff-bellied Pipit, 2 Cliff Swallow, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Glossy Ibis  

Monday 11 October 2021

A Fall and Cape May Warbler

A period of westerlies delivered the goods over the last week with the  8th and 9th October being red letter days (see daily log below). A small fall of American migrants on the 8th included American Redstart, 2 Cliff Swallows, a Bobolink, a Buff-bellied Pipit and several waterbirds but it was the following day that the serious quality arrived in the shape of a Cape May Warbler, found by Marten Muller, only the 3rd record for the Azores and the 7th for the Western Palearctic. There was also 2 Northern Parula and a Philadelphia Vireo found on the 8th.

A period of low/mid- latitude westerlies are predicted over the next few days, so another eagerly anticipated week lies ahead. 

Cape May Warbler (Marten Muller)
American Redstart (Marten Muller)

Daily Log:

10th October: Upland Sandpiper, 1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 adult Kittiwake, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper

9th October: 1 Cape May Warbler found by Marten Muller in the village, 1 Philadelphia Vireo in Upper Poco d'Agua, 2 Northern Parula one in Lighthouse Valley and one in Lapa, 2 Cliff Swallow, 2 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Upland Sandpiper

8th October: 1 American Redstart near Power Station, 2 Cliff Swallow, 1 Bobolink on Lighthouse Road, 1 Buff-bellied Pipit at reservoir, 2 Red-eyed Vireo, 5 Blue-winged Teal, 4 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Ring-necked Duck, 1 Rough-legged Buzzard, 1 Northern Harrier,  

7th October:  1 Northern Harrier, 1 Rough-legged Buzzard, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Deserta's/Fea's Petrel off windmills, 1 Surf Scoter, 2 White-rumped Sandpiper, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Corncrake, 1 White Wagtail 

6th October: 2 Red-eyed Vireo , 1 Upland Sandpiper, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 1 Corncrake

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Black-billed Cuckoo and Upland Sandpiper Top the Bill

The last few days have still been marked by low numbers of American vagrants but fortunately that included some quality birds. A Black-billed Cuckoo found in Da Ponte on 2nd October by Lorenzo Vanni is only the second record for Corvo and the first which has been photographed. The first record on the island dates back to October 2010, seen briefly by Vincent Legrand so the recent bird was a very welcomed overdue record (also a lifer for lead WP birder Pierre-Andre Crochet). It is perhaps surprising there have not been more Black-billed Cuckoos on Corvo considering this is the 25th record for the WP and the 5th for the Azores.  

The other highlights of the last few days included an Upland Sandpiper on 5th October and Red-eyed Vireo. 

A Green Heron , 2 Ring-necked Ducks and an Alpine Swift were found on the neighbouring island of Flores by Thierry Jansen on 5th October. 

Black-billed Cuckoo (Lorenzo Vanni) 
Red-eyed Vireo (Lorenzo Vanni) 
Upland Sandpiper (Lorenzo Vanni) 

 Daily logs: 

5th October: Upland Sandpiper in middle fields,  Deserta's/Fea's Petrel from windmills.

4th October: Red-eyed Vireo in Da Ponte, Wood Sandpiper in middle fields, Corncrake in middle fields. Also Grant's Storm Petrels calling at night in vicinity of Windmills.

3rd October:  Willow Warbler in Tennessee Valley, Snow Bunting at reservoir

2nd October: Black-billed Cuckoo found by Lorenzo Vanni in da Ponte, Corncrake in middle fields

Saturday 2 October 2021

All Quiet on the Western Front

After an explosive start to the season a somewhat high pitched ringing silence followed with the highlight of the week being a Northern Waterthrush found by Paul Doniol-Valcrove. 

Seven new birders arrived on the island on 1st October to join Pierre and Paul including an Italian team of four and three Azorean birders. Hurricane 'Sam' is active in the North Atlantic over the next few days and even though the system does not make landfall it is nonetheless a welcome addition to the dominant Azores high conditions over the last few days.  An eagerly anticipated week lies ahead.  

Northern Waterthrush (Paul Doniol-Valcroze) 
Tropical storm  'Sam' is set the bring westerlies on it's southern flank this week which could push birds into the Azores high

Daily log:

1st October: Nothing of note

30th September: 2 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 juv Ring-necked Duck plus the resident 19 Mallard/Black Duck hybrid flock (with one possible pure Black Duck)  in the caldera

29th September: Nothing of note

28th September: Northern Waterthrush at Lapa

27th September: Buff-breasted Sandpiper still present at the Reservoir

Monday 27 September 2021

Welcome to Corvo 2021

Welcome to this year's autumn season birding on Corvo. Once again things have got off to an incredible start with a Warbling Vireo found on September 25th by Pierre-Andre Crochet and Paul Doniol-Valcroze. If accepted this will be a first for the Western Palearctic. The Western Palearctic's sixth Chestnut-sided Warbler (and third record for the Azores) was also found the same day. 

Previous to this epic opening first full day by the French team, Tim Collins and Mags Grindle from the UK spent 11th to 20th September on the island and highlights included a Yellow Warbler and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

The first main wave of birders will arrive next week. More information can be found on the Corvo Birders facebook page HERE

Birders are encouraged to use Ebird to record all bird species on the island including common birds and migrants (Hotspot map here) which will support the work of the local report writing team and rarities committees. Many thanks in advance! 

If you are visiting Corvo for the first time this year then maps of the birding locations and other information can be found in this Dutch Birding paper HERE. More information and access to previous reports and papers can be found HERE

Warbling Vireo, photos above and below (Paul Doniol-Valcroze). A first for the Western Palearctic and quite a challenging identification. Distinguished from Philadelphia Vireo by paler lores, more attenuated structure, less contrast between crown and upperparts and the yellow hues being concentrated more on the sides and underparts than the throat. If the wing formula can be seen then Warbling Vireo has a short p10 (outermost primary) which extends beyond the primary coverts (in Philadelphia p10 is often a 'remicle'). In addition to separation from Philadelphia Vireo there are also Eastern and Western Warbling Vireos, which could be a future split, with differences in vocalisations and Eastern being brighter and yellower toned. This bird appears quite bright and further expert comment would be much appreciated.  

Chestnut-sided Warbler (Paul Doniol-Valcroze)
Yellow Warbler (Tim Collins) 

Daily log:

26th September: 1 Willow Warbler 

25th September: 1 Warbling Vireo and 1 Red-eyed Vireo at Fojo, 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler at Poco d'Agua

24th September: 1 Wood Sandpiper

11th to 20th September: 1 Yellow Warbler at the Power Station from 11th to 14th, Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the reservoir on 18th, Lesser Yellowlegs at the Caldera from 16th to 18th, 4 Pectoral Sandpipers, a Spotted Sandpiper at the reservoir from 16th to 18th and up to six Glossy Ibis. There was also a report of two Grey Catbirds heard calling.