quinta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2013

Oystercatcher Longipes/Buturlini? First for the WP

Some month ago local birder Jorge Cardoso found this bird together with 2 Bar-tailed Godwits on the North coast of Sao Miguel Island. Oystercatchers are rare birds on the Azores and only 76 birds have been seen until now. Many locals have been watching and picturing the tame bird and after my last session whit some clients I published a picture of it on my FB page.Dutch photographer and editor of Dutch Birding Rene Pop was the first who noticed the large white collar. The snowball went rolling and big names like Arnoud van de Berg,Enno Ebels, Arnold Meijer and others started to have a look.

Apart of the large white collar the brownish coverts similar to a first year and the long nasal groove going until two third of the bill made us dreaming about a first for the WP.

Longipes still around in July

sábado, 23 de fevereiro de 2013

Birding trip whit the locals

The Azores does not have a long birding history and just verry recently the activity is increasing together whit the local population. I,m verry happy to see a new generation of young people getting intrested in birdwatching and was more than happy to get invited by one of this promising youngsters Carolina Ferraz organizing a workshop for Expolab in Lagoa.

 Some month ago I did the theoretic part and now it was time to go to the field.First meeting point was the bridge between Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. The long staying Piel Billed Grebe, two Tuffed Ducks and a Greather Scaup was opening the score.

Ruben and Carolina, two promesing birders for the future.

We went on search for a Pintail male (did not find it)  and some local subespecies before driving up to my favorite spot Caldeira dos Alferes.

An nice cocktail of Ducks was entertaining us. Biggest suprise. Two female American Wigeons hiding out between a exepcional flock of 27 Eurasians. Together whit a female pintail and 22 Comon Teals Caldeira dos Alferes proofed again being one of the best Duck spots on the Azores.

Two American females hiding in a flock of Eurasian Wigeons

Down to Mosteiros. The big western waves from the last week had flushed away the most waders but a Turnstone was taking a nice bath in front of us on the only sunlight we had during the day.

We went on to do some seawatching, a unknowend thing for most of the people in the group and while I was looking in between of  hundreds of Cory Shearwaters fishing behind the Islands after a verry much wished Gannet for young birder Ruben Coelho he screamed out that he found a raptor sitting on one of the Islets. It was the adult Peregrine Falcon I have seen this winter on Mosteiros for several times. The light conditions where terrible and finding a falcon in this conditions showed again that Ruben  is not here to play around. If anybody stil had some doubts about his nature talent it all disapeared after he found his long wished Gannet all by himself. After all there is hope for the future. 

Time for the group picture. A little mistake whit the automatic shutter on Carolinas car wich was serving as a tripod, brought us a image of a verry weird Dutch vagrant. 

After all I had a great time. Hope to do it again soon.

Blue winged Teal, Goldcrest and poop flies

Today a GerbyBirding trip whit Doug and Jo, a kind happy couple from Britain. Another hard journey to try the Bullfinch but the last winds have blowed of the Holly blousom so birds was hyded deep in the forest. We just heard one singing but a friendly Goldcrest was doing his best to save our trip to the Eastern mountains whit a nice photo session.If not we should have left just whit a picture of some poop flies taken from a abanded present on the middle of the trail under the Tronqueira view point.

The highlands of Espraiados did also not bring any special so I start to worry. I did not wish to get lynched by Jo and Doug so my last hope was focust on Lagoa de Sao Braz. Lat times I only had a Garganey on this place so I had serious reasons to feel in trouble. After the long steep road up to the lake whit the never failing GerbyBirding Toyota we imidiatly spotted 4 small Ducks near the resident Domestic Duck. Two Northern Shovlers (Rarities on the Azores) and a fantastic Bluewinged teal drake was easy to reconize. The fourth
 a bit harder and in first place identified as a Blue winged female. Later on at home a better look to the pics changed my first conclusion to a first year Gargany, probably the same wich I had spotted last summer whit some verry nice Belgium clients.

quarta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2013

Eurasian Oystercatcher

After going behind Bullfinches whit American birders Nancy and Muriel we only heared them singing in the bushes. The strong winds from last week and the big thunderstorm hanging in the sky turned the Eastern mountains in a desert whithout birds. Some shy Canaries and Chaffinches was all we had.Not even a good vieuw of a Goldcrest. So the only thing left was running down to the North coast of Ribeira Grande to spot the longstaying Cattle Egrets, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and of course the Oystercatcher foind by my dear friend Jorge Cardoso some month ago.

sexta-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2013

Azorean Chaffinch

While waiting for the first spring vagrants and just some winter visiters left I entertain myself whit the local birds. One of 12 sub especies wich atracked more atention to visting birders from the European mainland is our Chaffinch. Plumage and call are totaly different from the mainlanders.

segunda-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2013

Simple day on the patch whit a lesser Scaup

Today I just left home to pick up my GerbyBirding van from the mecanic and decide to have a fast look on a pond near by. Some Malards and Common teals, 2 Tuffed Ducks, 1 Gadwall and a Scaup.
After publishing the Scaup on Facebook some waked up birders alert me about the last one.
 Lesser Scaup.Lucky me.
On the Azores I should know better. Always check Little Egrets for Snowy,Snipes for Wilson and Whimbrels for Hudsonian.

Driving back home stil some fun whit the Cattles. 

Corvo. Great Blue and Night Heron, Blue winged Teal and Bar tailed Godwit

Like all Azores birders my hart was banging faster whit the idear of flying to Corvo. Not the best time of the year but stil good changes to find some nice birds. Even whithout birds Corvo is a great Island to go. Nice landscape and great people.

It never happened to me before but while the plane was coming in from the west I thought that I could see from my seat a Geat Blue Heron standing on the rocks in front of the beach. A quick lunch on the village before I run around the airfield and in a forgotten corner the bird was indeed standing there. Lucky for me it was a  verry relaxed bird and I could aproach easely.


A quite walk by the lower fields did not bring anything new and I was preparing to go to the Hotel but a nice suprise was just flying over me. Black crowned Night Heron to fast to picture. Whit a fast beating hart I searched on old Harbour and there it was siting in the last sunlight of the day.

Two hard days of work on the foggy and rainy Caldeirao did not make birding easy and only some Mallards and a Blue winged teal was the poor result. A complete day spended on the eastern Valleys also did not bring anything so I thought this should be the end. Next morning I still had a look on the fields up of the village where Kathy and Renee had seen the 2 Comon Cranes but no birds there.
Time to check in but still time for a quick look behind the windmills. Between a dozen of Turnstones I still had a Bar tailed Godwit waiting for me. All by all a nice trip to Corvo

Santa Maria whit Belted Kingfisher, Great Egret and Pink-footed Goose

Januarie means traveling between the Islands to prepare the walking trails for the coming season. As Corvo, whit 2 new trails, did not alow us go there because weather condition I choose Santa Maria as first destination.
The weather was terrible and after working on the first day we got stocked in town whit a broken carr and heavy rainfall. I decide to have a try on the harbour and during 10 minutes whithout rain I could get a louzy record pic on 1600 ISO from the extemly nervous Kingfisher discoverd by Alan Vittery earlyer this winter.
Happy whit the finding of a new Azores especie I tryed next day to get a better picture but the Kingfisher was hiding out in the bambu. While watching to a Spotted sandpiper 2 Little and one Great Egret flyed over and stopped on a distante rock. In 2008 I found a Great Egret and a Common  Kingfisher on this spot. Both first for the Azores. Great Egret is far most rare than the Geat American Egret.
Next day I dropped my friends Telmo Pacheco and Rodrigo Borba on the beginning of the Pico Alto trail and before starting to work on another trail in Santa Barbara I passed by a field north of the airport to try get a picture of two Pink footed Goose wich I have seen flying up on big distance the day before. It was hard to aproach behind the stone walls in the mud but I cam close enough to get a reasonable record shot. Together whit the 4 Dotterels, 1 Lesser Yellow legg and a Bar tailed Godwitt it was not a bad trip at all.