A few photographs from the last few days on Corvo.
From October 4th a significant influx of american waders has been underway across the islands. 19 White-rumped Sandpipers, a Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Semipalmated Plover, a Spotted Sandpiper and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs at Cabo da Praia, Terceira on the 4th were the vanguard. Numbers increased to 45+ on 6th and 100+ White-rumped Sandpipers at Cabo da Praia on 7th. Flocks of White-rumps were also reported from Santa Maria on 6th and by the 7th inceasing numbers were reported from across the archipelago. There were 30+ White-rumps on Sao Miguel on 7th and 10 American Golden Plovers, 3 Baird's Sandpipers on Flores and 40+ White-rumps and 11 Semipalmated Plovers on Corvo the same day.
Many birds are still present.
Lisa Steiner/Whale Watch Azores was fortunate to encounter this stunning White-faced Storm-petrel 8 miles south of Sao Mateus, Pico, on 21st July. This is the 16th to be recorded in Azorean waters, and the first since 2008.
Thijs Valkenburg, Helena Batalha, Fábia Azevedo and Ricardo Ceia found the Azores' fourth Little Blue Heron at Lagoa das Furnas, Sao Miguel on Sunday 24th June. Previous records include one at Fazenda, Flores in November 1964, one at Fajã dos Cubres, São Jorge in September/October 1997 and one at Madalena, Pico in October 1998. So this bird is the first spring record of this Nearctic species for the Azores (and the Western Palearctic). Thijs was able to gain some fantastic photographs, one shown below (copyright Thijs Valkenburg).
Many thanks to Hugo Sampaio for coordinating this information.
The same observers were also fortunate to locate a Squacco Heron at the same locality, potentially the same bird that has been present at Lagoa das Furnas since 29th May 2012. The following photograph is copyright Thijs Valkenburg.
male Nightjar Ilheu da Praia, Graciosa May 2012 (photo:Joel Bried)
Up until spring 2012, there was a single record of European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus from the Azores - one at Ginetes, São Miguel on an unspecified date in 1953.
In spring 2012, the second Azorean record consisted of a bird seen at Vila Nova do Corvo, on 16th May and then two unfortunate individuals that were found dead by seabird researchers carrying out their daily duties on Ilheu da Praia, Graciosa - firstly a male on the night of 26th/27th May that was found dead in the same area the next day (Verónica Neves, Cristina Nava, Joël Bried, Pedro and Lurdes de Carvalho). The corpse was kept and then photographed by Joel Bried on 10th June.
A female was then found dead on 12th June (J. Bried, V. Neves, C. Nava), and the state of decomposition suggests that this bird died slightly later than the male.
Sincere thanks to Joel Bried for details and photographs of the Graciosa individuals.
Gerbrand Michielsen took a photograph of this Black-winged Stilt, that spent the 22nd - 31st May at Faja de Cima, Sao Miguel - the 19th for the Azores. The Azores have had an excellent spring for European vagrants, with the May highlights being a male Nightjar on Corvo on 16th (second for the Azores and the first for 59 years) and the second Woodchat Shrike for the Azores at Ribeira Quente, São Miguel on 18th. Squacco Herons were on Corvo on 16th and Ribeira de Sao Francisco, Santa Maria, on 17th (17th-18th records),
Red-footed Falcons were on Santa Maria on 15th-18th and Corvo on
16th-18th (sixth and seventh records), three Turtle Doves on Corvo on 18th (10th record), two Red-rumped Swallows on Corvo on 16th-18th (fourth record) and a Golden Oriole on Corvo on 16th-18th (ninth record) rounded off this remarkable set of vagrants.